8 Famous Movies That Started Out In Completely Different Genres

How does an apocalyptic thriller go to lighthearted romp?

The Truman Show
Paramount Pictures

During the pre-production stages, a film is bound to change in a variety of ways: new ideas are incorporated and taken on as the director interprets the screenplay on a personal level, whilst the studio adjusts the story and narrative framework in order to make it more marketable to a wider audience (for better or for worse).

Whilst most films go through a process of change, however, it's rare that a film will transform to such an extent that it essentially switches genres.

That doesn't mean it never happens, though: sometimes a motion picture will start off in one genre and slowly find itself taking on characteristics of another as it's developed. Before long, your horror film has become a sci-fi adventure flick, and your melancholy drama about terminal disease has morphed into a ball-busting comedy.

That might sound out of the realms of reality, but it does happen, and some surprisingly famous movies started out in one genre only to end in another one entirely...

8. E.T. Was Originally Intended As A Horror Movie About An Alien Named "Buddy"

The Truman Show
Universal Pictures

It's a well-known fact that Steven Spielberg once considered directing a sequel to his classic movie E.T. - one that would have seen Elliot being whisked off to another planet and forced to partake in a conflict between two warring alien races.

What's less know, however, is that Spielberg originally set out to make the first E.T. film as an experience in nightmarish horror, too. That's right, the family-orientated classic wasn't always a loveable sci-fi yarn - in the wake of Close Encounter's friendly alien reveal, Night Skies was intended as a polar opposite, with a plot about evil space invaders coming to Earth and terrorising a family.

In there somewhere, there would've also been a friendly alien character named "Buddy," whose purpose was to help the family to survive. As the project developed, though, Spielberg became more enamoured with the Buddy character, and decided to settle on a movie about a nice alien. The director bid farewell to the horror elements, commissioned a script, and the E.T. that we know and love was born.

And thank God he jettisoned the name Buddy too.


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.