Long-Held Beliefs About Skull Islanders In King Kong Movies Are Actually Wrong (Part I)

Nerdy considerations on the very real science beneath Skull Island’s science fiction

Paco Taylor
9 min readAug 30, 2018


If you’re one of those people who’ve never been certain about whether or not it existed, there is no such place as “Skull Island.”

Just kidding, True Believer!

Believe it or not, there actually is such a place, but that very real Skull Island is just a teeny, tiny islet located in the South Pacific Ocean’s Solomon Islands chain.

The fantastical, mist-hidden isle that serves as the home of a menacing, ape-like demigod (and his nervous worshippers) in the 1933 film King Kong, however, isn’t real.

But there is a surprisingly real basis for it.

“Well, every legend has a basis of truth.” – Carl Denham, King Kong (1933)

In the science-fantasy masterpiece in which Skull Island first appeared, the location of the uncharted locale is described as being reached by sailing 2 degrees south by 90 degrees east of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. From there, the daring mariner is instructed to continue on in a southwesterly direction until the mysterious boundaries of a perpetual fog bank is reached. On the other side of the mist, a treacherous coral reef awaits the hulls of all carelessly captained vessels, so here extra caution is advised. And just beyond the limits of the coral reef lie Skull Island’s deceptively placid shores.

‘King Kong’ • RKO Pictures

Plausibly Remote

According to an estimation made by fellow Kong theorist and writer Rick Johnson in the speculative essay “Doorways to Pellucidar: Island of the Skull,” the coordinates given in the original King Kong would appear to put the uncharted island about 600 or so nautical miles west of Nias, one of a chain of islands dotting the northwest coast of Indonesian Sumatra.

It should be considered, though, that such a location for Skull Island, an as yet unmapped isle in…



Paco Taylor

Writes about Eastern and Western pop culture, history, and art. Has bylines at NeoText, Nextshark, G-Fan, Comics Beat & Comic Book Resources | stpaco@gmail