Spielberg's 'E.T.' came close to being a horror
One of the world’s most beloved family films – E.T. The Extraterrestrial – was very nearly a nightmarish horror; this according to the film’s director Steven Spielberg, who recently told Entertainment Weekly of his 1982 classic:
"It was going to be called Night Skies, based on a piece of UFO mythology... where a farm family reported little spindly grey aliens attacking their farm, even riding cows in the farmyard. This farm family basically huddled together for survival... It's a story that's well-known in the world of ufology, and we based our script on that story."
Spielberg is, of course, referring to the Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter of 1955, which is regarded as one of the most significant and bizarre UFO cases on record. It is also one of the best-documented.
Spielberg tells Entertainment Weekly that he even went so far as to hire legendary effects designer Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London) to bring the impish Hopkinsville Kentucky aliens to life on the big screen, adding that E.T. only transformed into a family film when Harrison Ford's then-girlfriend Melissa Mathison came onboard to rewrite the screenplay. "Melissa didn't want to write it,” Spielberg says, “I needed Harrison and all of us to talk her into it.