E.T. Cute & Cuddly or Mean & Scary?
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. is one of the greatest and best loved movies of all time. In 1982 this Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster stayed at the top of the box office for six weeks grossing over $350 million. It was nominated for nine Oscars at the Academy Awards and won four. It became an instant classic and won the hearts of children and adults alike. Twenty seven years later it touches a newer generation who hope E.T. can "phone home" and who get choked up when he finally does have to leave. This film will always have a place at the top of my favorite movie list and is something I'd like to share with my family. So why are my two daughters petrified at the mention of this poor alien's name?
Where It All Began
The first viewing
My daughters are aged 10 and 6. One lazy Saturday afternoon about three years ago, Daddy popped in the E.T. DVD. I knew the time for them to be introduced to this world of wonder and awe had finally come. They were ready to be whisked away to a magical place. Taken from this dark room and transported through light and sound. The two hours passed perfectly. They loved the movie. "Just like me," I thought. My girls laughed and cried at all the right places. They fell in love with E.T. They really empathized with him. Now that I think about it, maybe this is where the trouble began.
The Next Day
E.T. The Extra-Terrible
The morning after we watched the movie, my girls were transformed. I was very excited to pick their brains and find out what they really liked and what moved them. Could they be feeling the same things as me? As I already stated they were transformed. No, not into the classic film loving duo I had been hoping for but into two newly terror-stricken E.T. haters. Both my girls simultaneously had E.T. inspired nightmares. They wanted no mention of the great film we watched the night before. I thought to myself, "this won't last".
It Still Lasts
"I had a dream about E.T. again last night."
It has been three years and my girls have not viewed the movie again. They continue to have frequent nightmares staring the famous alien. The name "E.T." sends them screaming into the other room (this is sometimes a good practical joke; my wife disagrees). I've asked them to pinpoint what about him is so upsetting. My youngest cites the scene where he is dressed up in the wig. My oldest won't even give me the time of day when I mention his name. E.T. is officially a curse word in my home.
3 Cool E.T. toys
A Father's Hope
E.T. is a vegitarian
I have come to understand that my daughters' revulsion is not all that uncommon. Through various forums I have found that others were scared of E.T. when they were children as well (some have grown up and still are). I, myself have never had a fear but only a deep respect for this great film. I hope that someday my daughters will be able to share with me this wonderful movie and look back at their fears and laugh. Until then, whenever they don't finish their dinners, I say to them: "I hear E.T. coming around the corner and he's really likes veggies". My daughters always finish their vegetables.
E.T.'s 30th Birthday
It has been almost four years since I created this lens and E.T. is now 30 years old. My oldest is 14 and just watched it again this year. She is over her fear and it is one of her favorite films. My youngest is 10 and still won't watch it. She doesn't want to talk about, hear, or see any images of E.T. at all. But I am OK with it. There is time and I have hope. I've read your comments and realize this really affects so many. I hope that maybe someday you will be able to conquer your fears and enjoy the film. If not, may you find wonder and awe in many a film elsewhere.
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Gertie's Reaction to E.T.
My youngest daughter bears a slight resemblance to Drew Barrymore and would probably have reacted the same way.