Stories about a proposed sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. are the stuff of internet lore. It’s not that the idea of a second installment, or even a franchise, is outlandish; it’s that, by all accounts, E.T. 2 would have been a horror movie! Unbelievable?
Nocturnal Fears (which sounds like the title of an anti-masturbation propaganda film, am I right?) was worked into a 9-page treatment by original E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison. It reads like twisted fan-fiction composed by a sadist! When Elliot (played by Henry Thomas) notices lights in the forest, he and his siblings rush into the darkness, expecting to welcome their wrinkly friend for a second visit. Instead, they’re surrounded by a clan of fish-belly-white, carnivorous ghoulies from space!
Elliot and crew are subjected to mental and physical torture aboard an evil mother-ship; torture! Here’s a bit of the treatment’s most chilling content:
When the children regain their senses, they are surrounded by the evil alien creatures who were hiding in the forest. The creatures are carrying some kind of dagger. Elliott advances in a friendly gesture but barely escapes being bitten, or even killed, by the alien’s razor-sharp teeth! Several of the aliens bare their fangs from time to time to show they mean business. Korel orders that the children be brought aboard. Reluctantly Elliott and his friends follow.
In the hours that follow, Elliott and his companions are questioned extensively. But the aliens will not accept the truth in their responses. While one child is interrogated, another is being examined. Gertie is crying and calling for Mary and E.T. for help. The others endure (as their war-gaming experiences have taught them).
This isn’t just a brief moment of the proposed E.T. sequel—this is the entire Second Act! The description of Gertie (played in the original by young Drew Barrymore) screaming for her Mommy, as well as additional descriptions of Elliot being tormented at length, are gut-wrenching! Of course, it ends on a positive note: E.T. returns like an action hero and saves the day. Seriously:
Suddenly we hear a strange resonating hum throughout the ship, yet it is not coming from within the ship. All the evil aliens freeze. A hatch opens to reveal E.T. with his glowing finger raised and his heart-light pulsating.
The only thing missing is an Uzi or a flamethrower! For a good laugh, or to shake your head at the absurdity of it all, check out the entire treatment, HERE.
The video below from Looper explains why Nocturnal Fears: E.T. II never got the greenlight—as if the fact that it’s terrifying isn’t reason enough! Basically, Spielberg was staunchly anti-sequel at that time, going so far as to say a 2nd Chapter would “rob the original of its virginity”; that’s pretty weird, right? Does he want us to imagine E.T. getting raped? While he would come around for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Nocturnal Fears was never resurrected for serious consideration—which is how Speilberg wants it!
But while the idea of a horror movie sequel to E.T. remains inconceivable, there are some who have re-evaluated the original film, only to argue horror is already omnipresent. Check out the crew from Cracked After Hours in the video below; their thesis subverts the idea that E.T. was a friendly alien, reframing him as a fiendish puppet master who lived by draining a child of his life-forces. Yikes! It’s actually pretty convincing (and also good for a chuckle).
I’d personally love to visit an alternate universe where Nocturnal Fears actually came to fruition; that would be s sight to behold!