ESC

The Plagiarism Lawsuit Over ‘Stranger Things’ Is Moving Forward

If I told you Stranger Things might not entirely be the work of its creators Matt and Ross Duffer, you would probably look at me like I had said something so obvious that you can’t believe I said it out loud. After all, the original pitch was full of all the things it was blatantly ripping off. Charlie Kessler, writer and director director of the short film Montauk, alleges that they wholesale ripped off his short for the series.

He may have a point because if you look at the pitch for Stranger Things, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s called Montauk. That’s not great for them, but we’ll get back to that. Here’s how Deadline reported the news that the judge in the case had rejected the Duffer Brothers’ motion for summary dismissal and the case is moving to trial.

Basically this year-long case is going to trial because the court has seen no proof that Matt and Ross Duffer came up with the incredibly successful and multi-Emmy nominated 1980s-set supernatural drama other than Matt and Ross Duffer saying that they did.

This seems like a slam dunk, seeing as how Kessler made a 2011 short film called Montauk that bears a lot of similarities to Stranger Things.

And then there’s this:

Filmmaker Kessler claimed in his initial April 2, 2018 filing that he pitched the concept to the Duffers four years beforehand at a Tribeca Film Festival party. The Montauk director also asserted that he later handed over “the script, ideas, story and film” to the brother and that they allegedly used that material develop Stranger Things.

Kessler says the Duffers used the working title The Montauk Project during the early stages of Stranger Things, which was originally set in the Long Island town of the title (a setting later changed to Indiana). It should be stated that when Duffers project with Netflix was first announced in 2015, it was called Montauk and was set in Long Island.

Why would they have the same name unless it was a rip-off? And a pretty blatant one at that. Well, it turns out that The Montauk Project is a conspiracy theory centered on the Montauk Air Force Base that dates back to the 1980s. Although there some other similarities.

Not totally unlike the first season of Stranger Things in 2016, the plot of Kessler’s 2012 Montauk short film revolves around a missing boy, a nearby military base conducting experiments on children and a monster from another dimension that looks like a toy.

So if the conspiracy theory is that there was a military base that was conducting experiments on children, then it’s no surprise that those things overlap. The monster that looks like a toy thing is still kind of damning. That’s the kind thing a jury might award someone $7.3 million for.

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