- This page is for the location. For the animated series of the same name, see Skull Island (series).
Skull Island, the land where God did not finish creation.
Skull Island is a fictional island and the home of King Kong in the original 1933 King Kong, its 1976 and 2005 remakes, and Kong: Skull Island, as well as non-film media such as DeVito ArtWorks' King Kong of Skull Island franchise of literary media.
Description[edit | edit source]
In the original 1933 King Kong and Son of Kong, Skull Island is an island situated somewhere off the coast of Indonesia and surrounded in a dense fog bank. The island's waters are full of huge sharp rocks, while the island itself is covered in both thick jungles and mountainous areas. The island's most distinctive feature is the huge mountain shaped like a skull located in the island's center, giving the island its namesake. Not far inland, there is a village inhabited by a tribe of natives, surrounded by a colossal wooden wall. The jungles past the wall are inhabited by various species of giant prehistoric creatures, as well as King Kong himself.
In the 1976 remake, Skull Island does not have a huge skull shaped mountain, nor is it inhabited by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, just Kong and a giant boa. There is still a village inhabited by natives and surrounded by a huge wall. This version of the island is located within an incredibly thick fog bank that has kept it invisible from most navigators over the years, and is also home to a large oil deposit, though the oil is not at all usable.
In Peter Jackson's King Kong, Skull Island is very similar to its portrayal in the original film. Here it is said to be located west of Sumatra; a nautical map from the tie-in book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island places its coordinates at 6°05'00.0"S 93°00'00.0"E. It once again bears a colossal skull-shaped mountain in its center, and is inhabited by numerous species of prehistoric creatures. According to The World of Kong, Skull Island was once part of Gondwanaland, located on a particularly violent boundary between the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates that fractured the island and created its treacherous terrain. Eventually it ended up in a region west of Sumatra where it was afflicted by magnetic anomalies and storms which concealed it from the outside world. Three thousand years before the present, an unknown civilization that worshiped Kong's species flourished on the island, but vanished abruptly, leaving behind only the giant stone ruins permeating the island. The primitive tribe encountered by the modern world was not related to this ancient culture, but were the descendants of groups that were shipwrecked on the island. Over the past thousand years, Skull Island had been rapidly sinking back into the sea. Fifteen years after Kong was killed, Skull Island sank completely. In the intervening years, Carl Denham led seven successful expeditions to the doomed island to study as much as they could before it disappeared.
In Kong: Skull Island, Skull Island is actually shaped like a skull when viewed from above, rather than simply bearing a skull-shaped mountain. The island is concealed by a perpetual storm cell. This version of Skull Island is very mountainous, and also possesses dense jungles and barren plains. It is inhabited by an indigenous tribe known as the Iwi, who reside in a village protected by a large wall. According to Houston Brooks, Bill Randa proposed that Skull Island acts as an emergence point for an underground ecosystem consisting of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, or M.U.T.O.s, explaining the countless monstrous species that dwell on the island. Unlike past incarnations of the island, this version is not inhabited by dinosaurs, but bizarre species of giant creatures, including "florafauna," or organisms that possess both animal and plant physiology. Kong appears to be the largest creature on the island, and makes his home in a mountain that resembles a skull when viewed from afar. At night, an aurora is visible in the sky above the island. According to the viral marketing website discoverskullisland.com its coordinates are 15°36'41.0"S 157°00'16.0"E, which places it in the South Pacific. Godzilla: King of the Monsters seemingly contradicts these coordinates, as a map in the film shows Skull Island to be located off the west coast of South America.
History[edit | edit source]
Film producer Carl Denham received a strange map marking the location of a mysterious uncharted island located west of Indonesia. Determined to explore the island and shoot his next picture there, Denham assembled a film crew and left for the island from New York on board the Venture. After months of sea travel, the Venture came upon the island, which was shrouded in fog and marked by a gigantic mountain on the center of the island shaped like a human skull. Denham and his crew came ashore on the island and discovered a massive wall surrounding a native village. The crew entered the village and witnessed the natives performing a ritual, preparing to sacrifice a woman to their god, "Kong." The native chief, after seeing Denham's leading lady Ann Darrow, offered to trade several of his tribe's women for her. Denham refused, angering the natives. The crew returned to the Venture, which was anchored off the coast of the island. During the night, a group of natives used canoes to approach the ship and abduct Ann. The natives brought Ann back to their village and tied her onto a pedestal located outside of the wall. Eventually, a gigantic gorilla-like ape, the natives' god Kong, emerged from the jungle and grabbed Ann, carrying her off back into the jungle.
After learning of Ann's disappearance, Denham and his crew came ashore and followed Kong. Along the way, they encountered a Stegosaurus and were attacked by a Brontosaurus while trying to cross a swamp. Eventually they came to a log spanning a chasm and tried to cross it. Kong noticed and grabbed the log bridge, tossing it into the pit below, along with every member of the search team except for first mate Jack Driscoll and Denham himself. Denham returned to the village to regroup with the members of the Venture crew that stayed behind, while Jack continued his pursuit of Kong. Meanwhile, a Tyrannosaurus rex attempted to eat Ann after Kong had set her down on a tree, prompting Kong to come to her rescue. After a vicious battle, Kong killed the T-Rex by breaking its jaws. Kong brought Ann to his mountain lair, where he was attacked by a serpent. After defeating the serpent, Kong brought Ann out to a cliff overlooking the island, only to be attacked by a Pteranodon. While Kong was distracted, Jack managed to rescue Ann, and the two of them jumped off the cliff into the water below. Kong followed the two back to the village, tearing down the wall and terrorizing the natives. Using their supply of gas bombs, Denham and his crew were able to knock Kong unconscious. Not willing to leave empty-handed, Denham decided to bring the unconscious Kong back to New York and put him on display. Kong was then loaded onto the Venture and taken to New York.
After being racked with lawsuits due to the damage caused by King Kong in New York, Carl Denham returned to the Venture and sailed around the world with Captain Englehorn. During the voyage, a mutiny was staged on the ship and Denham, Englehorn, the cook Charlie, and a stowaway named Hilda were set adrift on a raft. Eventually, they arrived on Skull Island, where Denham and Hilda encountered the son of Kong, a 12-foot-tall juvenile albino ape named Kiko. Deeply regretful of what he did to Kong, Denham decided to stay with the juvenile Kong and aid him whenever they were faced with a threat. After braving attacks by various creatures, Denham earned Kiko's trust, and the young Kong helped Denham and Hilda recover a large diamond necklace in a temple on the island. Shortly afterward, an earthquake struck the island, causing it to begin to sink into the ocean. Englehorn and Charlie managed to get onto a small boat and rescue Hilda, but Denham and Kiko became trapped on a small piece of land. With his leg stuck between rocks, Kiko accepted his fate and held Denham up above the water, sacrificing his life to allow Denham to board the boat and escape alive as all of Skull Island sank into the depths of the ocean.
After hearing of a potentially massive hidden oil well located underneath a gigantic fog blanket in the Pacific Ocean west of Indonesia, Petrox Oil Company executive Fred Wilson prepared to lead a surveying expedition to find it. After the expedition's ship, the Petrox Explorer left New York, a stowaway primatologist named Jack Prescott was discovered on board. Wilson was convinced that Prescott was a spy from a rival oil company, but Prescott explained he had stowed away on the ship to see the hidden island that presumably contained the oil well himself. Prescott revealed that throughout history, there had been accounts of ships traveling into that fog blanket and discovering "the beach of the skull," where they reported seeing a gigantic ape-like creature. Prescott explained that he wanted to see just what exactly those explorers had seen. After some convincing, Wilson decided to allow Prescott to stay on the expedition as its official photographer. Along the way, the ship picked up a castaway named Dwan, an aspiring young actress who had been on board a yacht that suddenly exploded. When the ship reached the fog bank, it passed through and found a large island. Believing he had found the "big one," Wilson ordered a landing party to come ashore. Prescott and Dwan accompanied the party and landed on the beach. After traveling inland, the party discovered a gigantic wall. Wilson said the island was uninhabited and the wall must be ancient, but Prescott noted that the wall looked to be constantly maintained, meaning natives must live on the island. The party passed through the wall and found a village filled with natives, who were performing a religious ritual. The natives were upset at being disturbed, claiming they were preparing to offer a human sacrifice to their god, "Kong." However, the witch doctor saw Dwan and believed she would make a superior offering to Kong and offered to buy her from the crew. When they refused, the natives prepared to take her by force, but were scared off by the party's guns. The team returned to the Petrox Explorer, but a group of natives followed them and kidnapped Dwan.
Dwan was taken back to the village and adorned with native jewelry and tied to a pedestal outside the wall. The jungle shook as a giant ape, Kong himself, emerged from the jungle and grabbed Dwan before carrying her away. Kong brought Dwan to a clearing and set her down. Believing Kong was going to kill her, Dwan begged for her life, only to eventually realize Kong meant her no harm and was actually infatuated with her. Meanwhile, Prescott and several members of the expedition followed Kong into the interior of the island in an attempt to rescue Dwan. When they reached a fallen log spanning a chasm, they attempted to cross it, only for Kong to appear and throw the log into the chasm below. Only Prescott and another crew member named Boan survived. Prescott told Boan to return to the village, where Wilson had set up a base camp, while he continued his pursuit of Kong. Kong brought Dwan to his lair and prepared to undress her, only to be attacked by a giant boa constrictor. While Kong battled the boa, Prescott rescued Dwan and the two ran back to the village. Kong noticed and quickly tore the snake's jaws, then proceeded to chase after his bride. Once Prescott and Dwan reached the village, Wilson and his men set up a trap behind the wall: a pit filled with chloroform. When Kong reached the wall, he smashed the gate down and entered the village, only to fall into the pit and be knocked unconscious. The natives surrounded their fallen god and bowed. Since the oil deposits found on the island were of such low quality they were essentially worthless, Wilson decided to bring Kong back to New York and use him as an advertising gimmick for Petrox. Kong was loaded into the Petrox Explorer's cargo hold, and the ship set sail for New York.
Later, after King Kong began his rampage through the city, he started to make his way towards the World Trade Center. Prescott theorized that this was because the plaza's North and South Towers resembled a natural rock formation on Skull Island that was familiar to Kong.
Failing film director Carl Denham, in order to escape prosecution for fraud, assembled a crew to travel to the uncharted Skull Island and film his newest picture. After Denham found his leading lady, Ann Darrow, and tricked playwright Jack Driscoll into boarding the Venture, Denham set sail for the island. After months at sea, the Venture reached Skull Island, an ominous rocky island blanketed in fog and bearing a gigantic mountain in its center in the shape of a human skull. Denham and his crew set foot on the island, only to discover a hostile tribe of natives. The natives, attempting to steal Ann so they could sacrifice her to their god, "Kong," attacked Denham's party, killing one of them with a spear. Denham and his crew escaped back to the Venture, but were followed by the natives, who kidnapped Ann and brought her into their village to sacrifice her to Kong. Kong, a giant ape, arrived and grabbed Ann, carrying her off to his mountainous lair. Ann was worried Kong would kill her, but he seemed to be romantically interested in her. Ann used her dancing skills to try and entertain Kong, but when she fell he began to laugh. Kong then repeatedly knocked Ann over with his hand whenever she tried to dance until Ann became angry and yelled at him, causing Kong to storm off. While the Venture crew tried to find Ann, braving a Brontosaurus stampede and other dangers, Ann escaped from Kong's lair and wandered the island, only to come face-to-face with a Foetodon, a giant crocodile. Ann ran from the creature, only for it to be killed by a Vastatosaurus rex. The V-Rex saw Ann and chased after her, eventually leading her to a second V-Rex. Kong arrived in time to save Ann from the V-Rexes, only to be attacked by them both along with a third V-Rex. Kong defeated one, but he and the remaining two fell off a cliff and became entangled in vines. As Ann fell from the vines, Kong grabbed her and the two of them fell to the ground. One V-Rex was trapped, while the other jumped down and resumed its battle with Kong. Without any backup, the V-Rex was overwhelmed and killed when Kong broke its jaws. After being saved by Kong, Ann developed a sympathy for the beast and willingly allowed Kong to take her back to his lair.
Most of the Venture crew were sent to their deaths when Kong tossed the log bridge they were crossing into a chasm. There, they were attacked by various gigantic insects, who killed most of the men until Bruce Baxter arrived and rescued them. Jack decided to continue pursuing Kong while Denham and the others returned to the village. Jack reached Kong's lair and managed to grab Ann while Kong was distracted by a flock of Terapusmordax. The two of them jumped off the cliff of Kong's lair and into the water below before returning to the village. Kong pursued them and broke through the village wall, destroying the natives' village in search of Ann. Denham and his crew threw bottles of chloroform at Kong until he fell unconscious. Denham decided to bring Kong back to New York and put him on display, believing it would make him a fortune despite his inability to make a film on the island. Kong was loaded onto the Venture and brought back to New York, where he would be exhibited on Broadway.
In 1944, American fighter pilot Hank Marlow and Japanese fighter pilot Gunpei Ikari crash-landed on Skull Island following a dogfight. The two men began to viciously fight to the death, only to be confronted by a gigantic ape.
In the closing days of the Vietnam War, Monarch members Bill Randa and Houston Brooks approached U.S. Senator Al Willis to secure approval for an expedition to Skull Island. Randa believed that the island was an emergence point for huge hollow pockets he believed existed underground, where an ecosystem of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms thrived. After some convincing, Willis approved the expedition and granted Monarch a military escort. Tagging along with a NASA surveying expedition aboard the ship Athena, the Monarch team arrived at the colossal storm cell surrounding the island. The expedition members boarded helicopters and pierced the storm, reaching the island itself. Seismic charges were dropped from the choppers to survey the terrain, but only served to draw creatures known as Skullcrawlers to the surface, as well as enrage King Kong, the island's gigantic guardian. Kong destroyed the helicopters, leaving the survivors stranded on the island. Some of the survivors met Hank Marlow, who was living among the native Iwi tribe, and brought them on his boat the Grey Fox to try and reach the extraction point on the north side of the island. Another group of survivors, led by Preston Packard, fought their way through some of the island's creatures until they reunited with the others. The survivors then passed through a huge pit full of skeletons, where they were ambushed by a Skullcrawler. They defeated the monster at the cost of several lives and escaped the pit. Packard and his men split with the others and attempted to bring down Kong, but were stopped by Marlow, James Conrad and Mason Weaver. A huge Skullcrawler appeared and attacked Kong, who had just killed Packard, forcing Marlow, Conrad, Weaver, and the remainder of Packard's men to retreat. The Skullcrawler chased them to the edge of the island, but Kong arrived and battled the creature. After a long battle, Kong killed the Skullcrawler, allowing the surviving members of the expedition to be rescued from the island and return to civilization.
By 2019, Monarch had established Outpost 33 on Skull Island to monitor Kong. When King Ghidorah awakened the Titans across the globe, contact with this Outpost was lost. After Godzilla killed King Ghidorah and became the new alpha of the Titans, many of the Titans began to converge on Skull Island, which had begun to experience seismic instability. Monarch was reported to have funneled additional resources and manpower into monitoring Skull Island, as well as organizing an expedition into the Hollow Earth beneath the island.
At some point prior to 2024, Skull Island became enveloped in a gigantic storm which wiped out the majority of the Iwi, leaving a single survivor, Jia. Outpost 33 was expanded, and had a containment facility built by Monarch to house Kong, but Kong was aware the preserved habitat inside the containment facility was not his home, and attempted to breach containment on a regular basis.
Monsters living on Skull Island[edit | edit source]
For more comprehensive lists of the various types of animals living on Skull Island organized by the continuities in which they exist, please consult the following pages.
- Skull Island birds and sea life
- Skull Island bugs
- Skull Island mammals
- Skull Island reptiles
- Skull Island theropods
In King Kong (1933) and Son of Kong[edit | edit source]
- King Kong
- Two-Legged Lizard
- Cave Bear
- Sea serpent
In King Kong (1976)[edit | edit source]
In King Kong (2005)[edit | edit source]
- King Kong
- Vastatosaurus rex
- Skull Island birds and sea life
- Skull Island bugs
- Skull Island mammals
- Skull Island reptiles
In the MonsterVerse[edit | edit source]
- King Kong
- Mother Longlegs
- Sker Buffalo
- Spore Mantis
- Mire Squid
- Death Jackal
- Magma Turtle
- Swamp Locust
- Spirit Tiger
- Giant ants
- Giant snake (Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization only)
- Giant wasp (Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization only)
- Carnivorous plant (Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization only)
- Squid-like creature (Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization only)
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Replica of Carl Denham's map of Skull Island
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Skull Island was in many ways one of the primary inspirations for the monster-filled islands in the Godzilla series, including Letchi Island, Sollgel Island, Monsterland, and Monster Island.
- In King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, Kong's home island is called Faro Island and Mondo Island, respectively.
- Skull Island was not referred to by name in any King Kong film until The Mighty Kong in 1998. In the original King Kong and Son of Kong, the island is only ever referred to as "Kong's Island," although official supplementary materials for both films do refer to it as "Skull Island." In the original film's novelization, however, the island is called "Skull Mountain Island." In the 1976 remake, the island is never referred to by any name, but Jack Prescott mentions an explorer's account of the island, which calls it "the beach of the skull," while supplementary materials such as the film's soundtrack do call it Skull Island.
- Aside from various studio backlots and indoor sets, Skull Island has been depicted on film by the Hawaiian islands of Kauai (in the 1976 remake) and Oahu, Australia, and Vietnam (all in Kong: Skull Island).
- A version of the Kong: Skull Island script excerpted on Legendary Pictures' official YouTube channel had Bill Randa state Skull Island was located east of the Kiribati islands. This detail was omitted from the final film.
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