Charlie Kessler, the director of the project, said he made the short film about a conspiracy surrounding a government complex on Long Island as a teaser for a feature-length movie. Kessler states that he pitched the idea to the Duffer brothers at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014, but nothing came of it.
The Duffer brothers have not commented on the matter, but their lawyer released a statement Wednesday.
“He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”
Stranger Things was initially pitched to Netflix under the title Montauk and features a plot similar to that of the found footage short directed by Kessler.
However, either story cannot claim complete creative ownership of the story. A 1992 book titled 'The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time' features secret government experiments in Montauk's Camp Hero. Camp Hero has been alluded to as inspiration for Stranger Things.
Watch the trailer for Charlie Kessler's short below.
Do you think the Duffer brothers plagiarized the idea for Stranger Things?