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'Stranger Things' creators' attorney says 'Montauk' lawsuit is 'completely meritless'

A filmmaker says the idea for the project came from his script "Montauk."

Brothers Ross, left, and Matt Duffer, creators of

Brothers Ross, left, and Matt Duffer, creators of Netflix's "Stranger Things," say a lawsuit filed against them is "completely meritless." Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

The director of "Montauk," a six-minute film about an incident on a Long Island beach, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the creators of "Stranger Things" of ripping off the idea.

Charlie Kessler says he made the short film in 2012 as a teaser for a feature film to be called "The Montauk Project." He alleges that he pitched the idea to Matt and Ross Duffer, the co-creators of the Netflix sci-fi hit, when they met at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Kessler says the idea went nowhere at the time, but the Duffer brothers used it as the germ for "Stranger Things," which debuted in 2016.

The Duffer brothers' attorney, Alex Kohner, issued a statement: "Mr. Kessler's claim is completely meritless. 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."

The short film uses found footage to tell a story about paranormal phenomena in the vicinity of a government facility. "Stranger Things," which was originally sold to Netflix under the title "Montauk," also involves supernatural phenomena surrounding a government lab. The setting for the show was later shifted to Indiana.

Neither project originated the idea of mysterious happenings surrounding a government facility on Long Island. A book, "The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time," was published in 1992, and tells of repressed memories of secret government experiments at Montauk's Camp Hero. Versions of the story has circulated on conspiracy sites for many years. Some of the "StrangerThings" cast have alluded to the connection, saying in a Wired interview that the show was based on stories about Camp Hero.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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