Frankenstein, Dracula, and, well, Germans all beat producer David O. Selznick to the monster-movie punch, but 1933’s King Kong birthed both the Hollywood f/x-driven creature feature and the scream queen, and everybody’s inner adolescent boy has been anxiously thrilled ever since. Filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) heads to the mysterious Skull Island in search of something fantastic to shoot and brings along his intended leading lady, Ann Darrow (the gloriously named Fay Wray). The movie man finds exactly what he’s looking for in the titular giant ape that takes a liking to the fair-skinned beauty and instantly becomes a 20th-century metaphor. Though dated, King Kong is the streamlined benchmark by which all monster actioners (from Creature From the Black Lagoon to Jurassic Park) are measured. And if you can sift through all the inspired readings that have been extrapolated from this puppy—the racially xenophobic one about the big, black hijacked Other punished for trying to take our women, the Depression-era one about Kong’s Empire State Building ascent as social climbing, the sexual one about Kong as the manifestation of man’s animalistic lust for woman—you can sit back and enjoy one of Hollywood’s undisputed B-lot classics.