SKULLCRAWLER (KONG: SKULL ISLAND)
Kong: Skull Island
Skullcrawlers, also known as Cranium Reptant, are giant reptilian Kaiju that appeared in the 2017 MonsterVerse film, Kong: Skull Island.
Skullcrawlers got their name from their skull-like heads and their crawling locomotions. Their true name is known but unspoken by the natives, and the name “Skullcrawler” was invented by Marlow as he explained their history to Weaver and Conrad.
Skullcrawlers are large reptilian creatures with only two long forelimbs and no hindlimbs, as well as long, prehensile, serpentine tails. They have long and slender, yet muscular, sturdy bodies. Several aspects of their appearance are noticeably skeletal, particularly their torsos and their heads. What appear to be the “eye sockets” of their skull-like heads are merely empty fenestrae: their real eyes are set much further back, with the fenestrae perhaps serving to distract enemies from their more vulnerable eyes and acting as heat-seeking sensory pits. The colors of their scales range from dark brown to dark green to a bone white color.
Their heads closely resemble those of Mosasaurs such as Tylosaurus, and their jaws possess two rows of serrated, razor-sharp teeth. The Skullcrawlers have four digits in total of each hand, with the thumb being the smallest digit and the rest of the digits being larger and of the same size, and a prominent bony spike protrudes out of each of their elbows. The thorny, toothlike structures of their inner mouths somewhat resemble that of a leatherback turtle’s. Additionally, they have long, prehensile triple-forked tongues that they can use to grab their prey.
Skullcrawler adolescents are easily distinguishable from adult skullcrawlers. Their heads are smaller, and more sloped than an adult. They also possess a more prominently brown skin tone. Adult skullcrawlers are larger, with most being as big as Kong. Their heads are more defined, larger, and somewhat angled.
The roar of the Skullcrawler is very high in tone, possessing a raspy quality with a hiss and growl mixed in between.
Skullcrawlers are subterranean pack-hunting predators with insatiable appetites that are the results of their heightened metabolisms. They are highly aggressive, as well as incredibly persistent in pursuing their prey. They do however show some degree of intelligence, shown when Skull Devil, the largest of the Skullcrawlers refuses to devour a grenade-armed Cole and simply swats him away. Adolescent Skullcrawlers appear to be naturally fearless, as two of them teamed up to attack Kong despite being smaller and out-muscled.
The Skull Devil appeared to be more intelligent than the rest of his kind. This was seen when he appeared only once Kong was subdued by Preston Packard. It also seems to have a hint of sadism as he licks Kong’s face maliciously after he’s been tangled up in a Shipwreck’s rudder chain during their battle. The Skull Devil was also shown to have a deep desire of killing and eating humans, which was shown several times when he diverted his attention from Kong to James Conrad and Mason Weaver, implying that he acts not only from primal instinct but some degree of malice and cruelty.
Little is known about the origins of this voracious predator, although its evolutionary purpose is abundantly clear. The Skullcrawler exists to devour, destroy, and dominate. Subterranean in nature, burrowing up through the geologically unstable steam vents across Skull Island, it is as though the Skullcrawler climbed up out of Hell itself.
This terrifying serpentine is a hypervore: a creature with such a hyper-adrenalized metabolism that it exists in a constant state of starvation. Just as a shark must keep swimming to survive, the Skullcrawler must keep feeding, dislocating its own jawbone so to maximize its ability to swallow anything that crosses its path. And within that gaping maw exists a long, whiplash tongue, which the creature uses to ensnare and constrict its prey. Its olfactory system can sense hot-blooded life across huge distances. Once it has picked up your scent, the blood in your veins is like blood in the water!
Perhaps most striking is the beast’s fearful visage. A chilling, lidless skull-face peers out through translucent flesh, as two dark and lifeless eye sockets regard their prey with cold, unflinching malice. The patterning of its facial features may be indicative of deimatic behavior designed to threaten and terrify its prey.
Given the unreachable depths of their subterranean nesting grounds, we have no way of knowing how big these things get, or the pecking order that governs their tribal feeding patterns.
The more we learn about the cultural history of Skull Island from the indigenous petroglyphs we have discovered, the clearer it becomes that the evolution of the Skullcrawlers has long been interwoven with Kong and his fallen ancestors. If Kong is god of Skull Island, then here comes the Devil!