Warning: SPOILERS for Kong: Skull Island ahead
In 2014, Godzilla emerged from the depths of the ocean to battle two gigantic M.U.T.O.s – Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms in the parlance of Monarch, the organization that investigates and monitors the huge ancient species that live beneath the surface of the Earth. Mankind was unaware of the existence of the M.U.T.O.s up until that point, and if people thought those monsters were all that existed – think again.
Kong: Skull Island, though set in 1973, greatly expands our knowledge by introducing a plethora of new monsters, great and small, to the MonsterVerse. The creatures on Skull Island have existed there for thousands of years according to the island’s native Iwi people, as translated by Lieutenant Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an American pilot stranded on Skull Island since World War II and since rescued by a coalition of Monarch, Landsat and the U.S. Army.
While we have no knowledge as of yet of any excursions to Skull Island since 1973, the following is a complete account of the various creatures encountered by the survivors of the 1973 Monarch mission to survey the island. It’s important to also make a distinction that while there are M.U.T.O.s that inhabit the island, in some cases the organisms described below seem to merely be animals for whom the island is their natural habitat. These include species of deer sighted from the U.S. Army helicopters upon arrival. Lt. Marlow also described giant ants that make sounds like birds, though these were not seen during the expedition. Based on what seemed like a Triceratops skeleton sighted in the island’s Boneyard, there may have been dinosaurs on Skull Island but none were seen by the explorers in 1973.
For anyone planning to visit Skull Island, the following information should serve as a primer of what creatures one can expect to encounter – and run from! A further caveat from Lt. Marlow: stick to the Northern sections of the island or the walled off area where the Iwi people live, and avoid the far more dangerous western regions. As Marlow survived on the island for over 28 years, his advice should be heeded if one wishes to escape Skull Island and live to tell about it.
The Big Bads of Skull Island, the Skull Crawlers are the most dangerous creatures on the island and should be avoided at all costs. Skull Crawlers (the name given to them by Lt. Marlow) are a massive, ancient reptilian species that live in the huge caverns beneath the surface of the Earth. The Hollow Earth Theory, postulated by Monarch seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) and since proven correct, states that there are enormous passageways beneath the surface of the planet that M.U.T.O.s have inhabited for thousands of years. Skull Island is one gateway for M.U.T.O.s – specifically Skull Crawlers – to escape to the surface. Skull Crawlers have terrorized Skull Island for thousands of years according to the records of the Iwi people.
The Skull Crawlers vary in size, but the biggest spans roughly 100 feet from snout to tail. They are biped creatures with two large clawed legs on the front. Skull Crawlers are carnivorous but seem to be unable to digest bones – one of the smaller Skull Crawlers, after killing and eating US Army Major Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), returned to the island’s Boneyard to vomit Chapman’s skull. The Skull Crawlers are ruthless and sadistic predators; the largest Skull Crawler is responsible for killing the parents of Kong. While the efforts of Kong, with the aid of the Monarch/Landsat/US Army explorers, managed to kill the largest Skull Crawler, there is no telling how many more exist and may surface on Skull Island.
Inhabiting the river areas of Skull Island, the Sker Buffalo is a massive water buffalo-like creature with gigantic horns protruding from its head. The Sker Buffalo is amphibious and seems to be docile. When separated from the US Army forces of Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), the group consisting of photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), Landsat official Victor Nieves (John Ortiz), US Army Officer Reg Slivko (Thomas Mann), and led by British SAS Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) encountered a benign Sker Buffalo en route to the Iwi encampment. Later, Weaver found a Sker Buffalo suffering from a crashed helicopter having landed on it outside the huge wall of the Iwi village. She was aided in freeing the Sker Buffalo by Kong.
The Mother Longlegs are an all-female species of gigantic spiders that inhabit the Bamboo Forest section of Skull Island’s northern regions. The slender bamboo trees form the perfect camouflage for its roughly 20 foot long legs, at the end of which are razor sharp spikes for impaling its victims. The Mother Longlegs strikes from above, using its mucus-like tendrils to pull its victims upwards towards it. The creature also has two scorpion-like pincers at the front of its thorax. The Army forces of Lt. Col. Packard managed to kill a Mother Longlegs and were fortunate not to have encountered more.
Dwelling in the lake region of Skull Island, the Mire Squid is a roughly 100 foot long hybrid of giant octopus and squid. Major Chapman nearly encountered the Mire Squid while unsuspectingly washing himself in the waters of the lake. He was fortunate that Kong arrived; Chapman witnessed Kong identify the Mire Squid and grab onto its tentacles before the Squid could attack him. After a brief struggle, Kong killed the Squid and began eating its tentacles, dragging the remainder of the Squid’s bulk away with him.
The flocks of birds soaring over Skull Island seem peaceful, but they are in fact Psychovultures. Psychovultures are bat-like predators with wingspans of 5 to 9 feet. Analysis of the Psychovulture indicates it self-induces aggression by eating a poisonous form of pufferfish found on Skull Island. The Monarch/Landsat expedition didn’t directly encounter the Psychovultures, which is one of the small fortunes of their time on Skull Island.
Deceptively camouflaged as a fallen redwood tree, the Spore Mantis is an enormous 50-foot stick insect The four-legged, tree-like shell of the Spore Mantis houses a parasite with spiked teeth. Major Chapman was fortunate to survive a surprise encounter with a Spore Mantis; unfortunately, the Spore Mantis only retreated because it sighted an approaching Skull Crawler, which then attacked and consumed Major Chapman.
From a distance, Lt. Col. Packard identified the Leafwing as an “ugly-ass bird” before he shot and killed one. Apparently blue-blooded, the Leafwing is an offshoot of the Psychovulture, with a wingspan of 3-5 feet and long, razor-like beaks. A flock of Leafwings attacked and lifted Landsat’s Victor Nieves right off the boat he was traveling the river on. Captain Conrad, Mason Weaver, and the others could only watch as Nieves was torn apart by the Leafwings in mid-air.
Believed a god by the Iwi people (“Kong’s a pretty good god; keeps to himself, mostly” according to Lt. Marlow), Kong is a 104 foot gorilla that protects Skull Island. Kong seems to have an innate understanding that his mission is to guard the fissure points of the island which are gateways for the M.U.T.O.s below to rise to the surface. Kong is the last of his species; his parents were killed by the largest Skull Crawler that invades Skull Island and the bones of Kong’s parents can be found in the island’s vast mass grave known as the Boneyard.
Kong is seemingly only aggressive when provoked. Otherwise, Kong is tolerant of human beings and willingly takes on a protector role against M.U.T.O.s and other super predators. Kong also seemed to form an interest, if not attachment to Mason Weaver, going out of his way to save her from drowning while battling the large Skull Crawler. According to Lt. Marlow, Kong is the last defense against the M.U.T.O.s beneath Skull Island and “if Kong goes, the whole island goes.” Marlow also notes that Kong is “still growing”; how much bigger Kong has grown in the 44+ years since he was last sighted on Skull Island remains to be seen.
Note that in the post-credits scene of Kong: Skull Island, Conrad and Weaver were recruited to Monarch and shown photographs of Godzilla and three new M.U.T.O.s – King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan. There’s no telling as of yet if any of these monsters will find their way to Skull Island to encounter Kong.
Source: Discover Skull Island