Skull Island

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This article is about the fictional Skull Island of King Kong. For other uses, see Skull Island (disambiguation).
The Map of Skull Island as seen in the 1933 King Kong film.

Skull Island is the name most often used to describe a fictional island first appearing in the 1933 film King Kong and later appearing in its sequels, the three remakes, and any other King Kong-based media. It is the home of the eponymous King Kong and several other species of creatures, mostly prehistoric and in some cases species that should have been extinct long before the rise of mammalian creatures such as gorillas, along with a primitive society of humans.

In the 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla and the 1967 film King Kong Escapes, the comparable islands are called "Farou Island" and "Mondo Island", respectively. Kong plays a similar role on these islands as the godlike being of the land, a role he plays in all versions of the King Kong story. Skull Island's origins are unknown, however Kong appears to be the only giant gorilla known to exist on the island. However, the 2005 remake shows other skeletons of Kong-sized gorillas, indicating that there was once a group of such creatures of an unknown number living on the island.


Appearance in the 1933 films[edit]

In King Kong, the island is never mentioned by name and is located at approximately 12°S 78°E / 12°S 78°E / -12; 78 — somewhere off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. There is a distinctive rocky knoll in the center of the island which is shaped like a human skull, which is referred to as "Skull Mountain".

At first, the island is thought to be deserted, but upon further examination by the protagonists of the picture, it is filled to the brim with superstitious natives, prehistoric creatures of all sorts, and one extremely large gorilla, known by those on the island as "Kong".

The ancestry of the natives is never really explained, although the setting suggests they are a Southeast Asian group.

In the sequel film The Son of Kong, Carl Denham returns to Skull Island when there was mentioning of some treasure that was hidden there. He also encounters a large white gorilla who is the son of King Kong. Skull Island sinks into the sea during a powerful earthquake. Kong's son drowns while holding Carl Denham above the water. Denham survives unscathed while the treasure is claimed by him and the other three survivors.

The term "Skull Island" is never used in the original films. In King Kong, only "Skull Mountain" is named, while in the sequel The Son of Kong, its simply referred to as "Kong's Island". In the novelization of King Kong by Delos Lovelace, it's called "Skull Mountain Island". But RKO referred to it as "Skull Island" in some of their publicity materials.

1976 remake[edit]

In the 1976's King Kong, Skull Island is mentioned as being "the beach of the skull." Various people are said to have visited the island through the centuries but returned with no clear proof. By the 1970s, it is an urban legend whose only evidence is in government secret files. It is also revealed to have a huge deposit of oil which led the film's antagonist, a greedy oil company executive, to go in search of it.

Kong: The Animated Series[edit]

In Kong: The Animated Series, the island was named Kong Island and, unlike previous incarnations, was situated in the infamous Bermuda Triangle, not the Pacific Ocean. Although various prehistoric creatures are seen living there, Kong Island also contains some ruins where one of them serves as the prison of the demon Chiros.

It is also where Jason Jenkins and his grandmother Dr. Lorna Jenkins also live along with Jason's friend Tan. Another human inhabitant is Lua, the sole survivor of the native people of the island and a female shaman.

2005 remake[edit]

In Peter Jackson's remake, Skull Island's position west of Sumatra remains the same, in a region afflicted by magnetic anomalies and violent sea storms. According to the book The World of Kong, Skull Island was geologically unstable and has been slowly sinking into the sea for the past thousand years. By 1933, the island was on the verge of destruction. Fifteen years after its discovery to the modern world, Skull Island finally sank into the ocean.

In its prehistory, Skull Island was a refuge for a variety of prehistoric creatures. Over time, more and more species arrived either by swimming, flying, rafting, or migrating through temporary land bridges. As the island slowly receded into the sea, life was forced to adapt, resulting in an ecosystem of bizarre and nightmarish creatures.

Three thousand years before, an advanced civilization from Southeast Asia migrated to Skull Island, bringing with them domesticated animals such as Gaur and the giant ancestors of Kong. This culture eventually died off, leaving behind only gigantic eroding ruins scattered around the island (such as the enormous wall) and a small society of primitive people that became the Skull Island natives.

Altus Press[edit]

To coincide with the 80th anniversary of both characters, Altus Press announced on January 29, 2013, that King Kong would meet pulp hero Doc Savage in a new, officially sanctioned book written by Will Murray and artist Joe DeVito, who will also do the cover artwork. Set in 1920, shortly after returning from military service during World War I, Doc Savage searches for his long-lost grandfather (the legendary mariner Stormalong Savage) with his father, the explorer Clark Savage, Sr., that ultimately leads father and son to the mysterious Skull Island and its prehistoric denizens including King Kong. Doc Savage: Skull Island was released in March 2013.[1] In his review for the New York Journal of Books, playwright-author Mark Squirek concluded:

Across close to 400 pages Doc Savage: Skull Island takes us not only on a journey to Skull Island, but to the beginnings of a young man’s rise to greatness. Mr. Murray has created a new classic of the genre—all the while staying completely true to the legends of both Kong and Doc Savage.[2]

2017 offshoot feature film[edit]

Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson are starring in Kong: Skull Island, being written by Derek Connolly and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film is being produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers. Shooting will begin in late October 2015 in Hawaii. The film will also shoot in Iceland and Vietnam.[3] [4]

Popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Matthew Moring (January 29, 2012). "Press Release: Doc Savage and King Kong Coming in March". Press Release. Altus Press. Retrieved 2013-02-24. On the eightieth anniversary of these fictional giants, Altus Press is proud to release the first authorized clash between The Man of Bronze and the Eighth Wonder of the World — Doc Savage: Skull Island. Written by Will Murray in collaboration with Joe DeVito, creator of KONG: King of Skull Island, Doc Savage: Skull Island is a new pulp epic. 
  2. ^ Mark Squirek (2013). "Doc Savage: Skull Island". Review. New York Journal of Books. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  3. ^ Borys Kit (August 18, 2015). "'Jurassic World' Writer Heads to 'Kong: Skull Island' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ Fleming, Jr, Mike (September 10, 2015). "King Kong On Move To Warner Bros, Presagin Godzilla Movie Match". Deadline. 
  5. ^

Further reading[edit]