The New York Times has a nice article on trying to get a new generation of filmmakers to appreciate the artistry of classic horror films, specifically the nine nourish and mood-soaked productions of RKO's horror-unit head Val Lewton (whose works I've reviewed with great pleasure in this very blog).
From the article:
I was all of 5, and I had stumbled on the original “King Kong” on television. I didn’t switch it off. Instead I turned down the volume and hid behind the couch. Every time I peeked, things only got worse: Now Kong was chewing on a native like a toothpick; now he was squashing another into the mud with his giant foot.
My dad tells the story of how he got home, found the television on, silently, and then noticed the top of my cowering head. On screen Kong ran amok. My dad asked if I was O.K. “I’m fine,” I reportedly said.
Then — and I remember this distinctly — he leaned over and switched off the set, and Kong was gone, and waves of relief rolled through me.
Fast-forward about 36 years. My own son, Dean, is about to turn 8. He was completely unfazed a few years ago when I first played the original “King Kong” for him. “Look, look — this is scary,” I said as the Skull Island climax began, eyeing him but getting nervous myself. I felt a little of that old hide-behind-the-couch instinct coming on.
“What?” Dean shot back as Kong rampaged. “He looks so fake.”
The article includes links to clips from the original King Kong, Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Lodger.