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This Day in Horror History: KING KONG Was Released in 1933

King Kong remains one of the most iconic giant monsters in cinematic history and, today, we celebrate the release of King Kong in 1933. The film was directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack and stars Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot. If it’s been a while, or if you’ve yet to experience the original King Kong for yourself, check out the trailer and synopsis below.

Actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travel to the Indian Ocean to do location shoots for Denham’s new jungle picture. Along the way, the actress meets and falls for rugged First Mate John Driscoll (Bruce Cabot). Upon arriving at a mysterious island, Ann is taken hostage by natives who prepare her as a sacrifice to the enormous ape Kong who rules over their jungle. But when Ann is rescued and Kong is captured, the real trouble begins.

The one flaw that remains in the animation is the way Kong’s fur seems to be moving constantly, showing where the animators had to grab the figure to move it. Though the animators would brush the fur constantly to hide their work, it still shows up in the finished film. Many other filmmakers who have used the same technique actually admire this flaw, because it shows that the work was done by skilled artists using their hands. (Source)

This film was successfully re-issued worldwide numerous times. Some claim it was the first ever re-released film. In the 1938 re-issue, several scenes of excessive violence and sex were cut to comply with the Production Code enforced in 1934. Though many of the censored scenes were restored by Janus Films in 1971 (including the censored sequence in which Kong peels off Fay Wray’s clothes), one deleted scene has never been found, shown publicly only once during a preview screening in San Bernardino, California in January 1933. It was a graphic scene following Kong shaking four sailors off the log bridge, causing them to fall into a ravine where they were eaten alive by giant spiders. At the preview screening, audience members screamed, and either left the theater or talked about the grisly sequence throughout the subsequent scenes, disrupting the film. Merian C. Cooper said, “It stopped the picture cold, so the next day back at the studio, I took it out myself.” (Source)

King Kong Poster - This Day in Horror History: KING KONG Was Released in 1933

Are you a fan of King Kong? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.

Written by Josh Millican

Josh Millican is the Editor in Chief at Dread Central.

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