Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

If you were scarred by E.T. as a kid, just be thankful this sequel never got made

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a movie for kids. More specifically, it’s a movie for making sure kids never look into a closet filled with stuffed animals or take out the trash without feeling like there’s potential for a glassy-eyed space monster to appear unexpectedly and scare them half to death. As it turns out, the lifetime of nightmares contained within the original film—already more than enough for the world’s children—could have been doubled if, as was planned at one point, we got a sequel called E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears.

YouTube channel Hemmas Studios focused on the stunningly-named Nocturnal Fears in a video about movies that got shelved before they could, say, be shown to crowds of kids who carried the scars of what they’d just witnessed for the rest of their lives. The E.T. sequel was, we learn, pitched with a nine-page treatment by the original movie’s director Steven Spielberg and writer Melissa Mathison. Though this treatment was written in 1982, not long after E.T.’s release, something seems to have fundamentally changed in Spielberg’s and Mathison’s psyches in the meantime.

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The pitch is as follows: The first movie’s kids are lonely without their old pal E.T., but hopeful that they’ll be reunited with the tiny freak again one day soon. Their wishes seem to come true when they end up finding an alien ship. Unfortunately, the treatment tells us, “the aliens onboard are EVIL.” They’re also albino carnivores with big red eyes and fangs who are at war with E.T.’s people and have arrived on Earth to mutilate cattle, and torture the kids for information on their enemies’ whereabouts. During all of this, Elliott experiences “tremendous pain” and screams so loudly that his agony is heard throughout the universe. This brings E.T. back to save the human children from what we can only assume is dispassionate alien murder.

Oh, and apparently E.T.’s actual name is “Zrek.”

Unsurprisingly, Spielberg decided later on that this extremely dark concept for E.T. 2 wasn’t something he wanted to pursue. Never one for sequels in the first place, Spielberg said a follow-up would only rob the original of its virginity,” which is certainly one way to put it. Still, even without getting to see his unsettling ideas brought to life on the big screen, we’ll always have another venue for expanded-universe E.T. horror: A bunch of concepts for the alien’s design that could have given us an 80s movie icon with a droopy, birdlike face, lanky torso, or a full set of smooch-ready lips.

[via Boing Boing]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.