Though the movie King Kong could not possibly cause anyone to lose sleep after seeing it today, it was certainly classified as a horror movie when it firstly went public in 1933. On the one hand, the director’s intentional blurring between the boundary of a documentary and a fiction added to the horror effect. On the other hand, besides the use of cutting-edge cinematic technology, the era of Great Depression and thus the unusual psychology of people during the crisis also contributed greatly to the huge success of King Kong.
Just like Carl Denham expects towards the end of the film: “ The whole world will pay to see this! The eighth wonder of the world ”, the whole world did pay to see this, to see the movie. Somehow the movie took advantage of people’s psychology during the crisis and made them realize how lucky they were to live in a world without having such monster as Kong destroying the city. Suddenly the plight of losing a job became acceptable. The hierarchy of race permeates the movie. The idea that the primitive stands no chance in winning over the civilized is emphasized repeatedly.
Woman, interesting enough, plays the intermediate role in between. The primitives are represented by Kong, the native people in the skull island, and even the chef Charlie. To begin with, when they are still sailing in the sea, Ann engages in a small talk with Charlie while he is peeling potatoes. His English is awkward and his attitude towards Ann is polite and humble. Then Jack comes over and his attitude towards Ann is condescending. (“ You are a trouble just being around. ”) When they arrive the skull island and make contact with the native people, Denham was fascinated by the ritual conducted by the natives.
However, his frivolous whistling shows that he pays no respect to the natives or their ceremony. All he sees is money and fame if he can film all these scenes and sell them to the public in New York. The idea that white people are superior to the natives is also problematic. The chief of the native people proposes to exchange six women for Ann. Further, the fact that Kong finds a white woman far more attractive than a native one is racist. In the movie, Kong fights as many as three or four dinosaurs in order to protect his heroine.
Every time he defeats a dinosaur, he stereotypically pats his chest and roars to show his masculinity. Also every time he approaches to her, despite her continuous screaming, he is gentle, careful and loving, which sharply contrasts to his behavior of trampling native women at the end of the movie. While the primitive (Kong) could not resist the attraction of a white woman, the civilized (Jack and Carl) plays the role of saving the white woman. When they fight with Kong in the jungle, Kong fails to kill them despite the fact that he succeeds in killing dinosaurs.
After Kong was brought to the civilized world, he completely loses his position as the king of the nature and has to die in the face of civilization and technology. Unsurprisingly, it is Carl who proposes to use airplanes and it is Jack who climbs up to the top of the Empire State and finally gets Ann. Ann, on the other hand, does nothing but screaming, screaming, and screaming since Kong makes his first appearance in the movie. As a woman, she is incapable of controlling her own destiny.