The Skull Crawlers made for unique and horrifying enemies in Kong: Skull Island, but what are the origins of these nasty creatures? Kong: Skull Island is the second installment of the MonsterVerse cinematic universe, following Gareth Edward’s Godzilla in 2014. Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ film set itself apart from Godzilla by taking place in 1973 and featuring a much brighter color palette and variety of monsters.
Kong: Skull Island featured a great ensemble cast, including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and fun setpieces. Like Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong, Skull Island makes the titular location a character in itself. It’s got a teeming ecosystem filled with unique creatures and wildlife. The movie also reinvents Kong himself and in a break from previous versions of the story, the giant gorilla isn’t taken from the Island to New York in the finale.
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While Godzilla and Kong are obviously the A-listers of the MonsterVerse, there are plenty of other Kaiju to contend with. This includes the Skull Crawlers, who become the major threat of Kong: Skull Island. In fact, the reason Kong attacks the Army helicopters is that they’re bombing the island awakening the subterranean Skull Crawlers from their nests. These creatures are responsible for wiping out Kong’s family, leaving him the last of his kind.
A Skull Crawlers body is mostly made up of bone, allowing them to borrow and survive underground, in addition to withstanding bullets and other attacks. Vogt-Roberts wanted to avoid using dinosaurs in Kong: Skull Island, so the Skull Crawlers drew from a number of influences. This includes the Two-Legged Lizard seen in the 1933 original, Sachiel the Third Angel from Neon Genesis Evangelion and – bizarrely enough – Cubone from Pokemon.
The Skull Crawlers are driven by a metabolism that makes them constantly hungry, and they have two rows of serrated teeth to chew through victims. They also have extra long tongues that can shoot out and grab prey, pulling them straight into their mouths. They only have two limbs and a tail, though their muscular bodies allow them to be extra mobile on land – the tail comes in useful in combat for whipping prey also. Despite appearing somewhat mindless and aggressive, they are shown to have a degree of intelligence too. The Skull Devil, for instance, refuses to eat a soldier who attempts to sacrifice himself with explosives and instead wipes him away with its tail.
Given the absence of other large predators on Skull Island – aside from the occasional giant spider or squid – it’s assumed the Skull Crawlers ate their way to the top of the food chain. The Skull Crawlers made for a creepy foe in Kong: Skull Island and while they may not reappear in future MonsterVerse entries, they gave Kong a good warm-up for his title fight in 2020’s Godzilla Vs Kong.
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