Killer Gorilla

Gorillas, orangutans, and sometimes chimpanzees: about the same size and shape as humans (normally), but tougher, hairier and generally meaner. Don't incite them to gorilla warfare, because the things they throw tend to hurt. They may also may like to squeeze people to death. Or pick them up and bash them to the ground.

In a nutshell, this trope is when gorillas and other great apes (excluding humans) are, contrary to their real usual behaviour, treated as belligerent, pugnacious creatures. It's pretty much been a Discredited Trope for gorillas (and orangutans) since at least The '90s. The sign that it was pretty much done for was when Disney's Tarzan adaptation changed the fictional Mangani of the original novels to gorillas to reflect how science has marched on. However, chimps are still subject to Maniac Monkeys after a nasty incident where a pet chimp gnawed the face off of his owner.

A subtrope of Maniac Monkeys. For other unlikable lower primates, see Killer Space Monkey and Cymbal-Banging Monkey. Related to Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti, another large, hairy and often dangerous hominid. For the Lighter and Softer relative of this trope, see Everything's Better with Monkeys.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Gorillamon from Digimon Adventure 02 and Digimon Tamers. It's a gorilla, with an Arm Cannon.
  • Wyald, a Psycho for Hire hedonist and adrenaline junkie from Berserk closely resembles an ape even in his human form. He then reveals that his Apostle form is a colossal, three eyed gorilla with a tiny head, and an extra mouth (with a massive spiky penis for a tongue) on his chest.
  • The Beast Titan, from Attack on Titan. At 17 meters tall, it towers over regular Titans and its Creepily Long Arms give it not only reach but compliment its Improbable Aiming Skills. It doesn't help that it is also exceptionally cruel, with a brilliant mind and possibly the ability to transform human victims into Titans it commands. It is very bad news, and causes a battle-hardened veteran to have a Freak Out just by speaking to him.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Tintin volume The Black Island, the villains keep a gorilla named Ranko to attack anyone who trespasses on the island of the title. Subverted, however, in that Ranko is mostly dangerous because it is abused by the villains, and in fact Tintin befriends it by helping it after it is injured.
  • DC Comics supervillains Gorilla Grodd and Monsieur Mallah.
    • The Ultra-Humanite may also count, as he's most commonly seen in the body of a great white ape.
  • The second arc of The Incredibles comic series starts with an attack on the mall by the Ungorilla, a Captain Ersatz of Grodd.
  • Don Martin drew a comic around the self-created holiday National Gorilla Suit Day (that's January 31st.) In it, recurring character Fester Bestertester is visited by several wearers of gorilla suits, many of them being actual killer gorillas who creatively mangle him several times.
  • A comic book miniseries prequel to The Dresden Files called Welcome To The Jungle plays with this, in that a silverback gorilla name Moe is a suspect for a number of murders at the Lincoln Park Zoo, but he is actually very gentle and protective with his handlers. What he does to a hag who is threatening one of his friends is very messy, though.
  • Hellboy gives us the Kriegaffes, cyborg gorilla henchmen of the Nazi Mad Scientist head in a jar Hermann von Klempt.
  • One of the main characters in Cavewoman is Klyde, a gigantic, violent gorilla.
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: After a mind-transfer goes wrong, Judge Anderson and Vernan D'Arque both end up trapped in the subconsciousness of an intelligent gorilla. D'Arque uses the gorilla's body to go on a killing spree to recover his fortune.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Hitman Miami: The last chapter has the protagonist up against genetically engineered, gun-toting, yet still bestial, gorilla assassins.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live Action 
  • King Kong, no ordinary gorilla but a member of a giant prehistoric species.
  • In the Star Wars universe, Wookiees, despite being a fantastic sapient species, look and act this part. As Han says, they're known to rip people's arms out of their sockets.
    • In the Expanded Universe book The Wildlife of Star Wars, there's the Veermoks, large predatory apes that stalk the swamps of Naboo.
  • In the original Planet of the Apes and sequels gorillas are the soldier class, and are the only meat-eaters. Science Marches On, though, and it's now known that gorillas generally don't eat meat, but chimpanzees do. Which makes the scene in the book where Zira frowns at the gorillas, calling them "meat-eaters", quite ironic.
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes plays it straight and subverts it at the same time. On one hand, Buck, Caesar's friend and main gorilla of the film, kills more people on-screen than any other ape by virtue of being big, strong and not particularly keen on restraint. On the other hand, the greatest contribution of the gorillas to the collective effort of the apes was to move a bus, which a large group of chimpanzees later use as cover to attack.
    • Pretty much averted in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as far as gorillas go. In combat situations, the movie focuses more on the gorillas taking wounded apes out of the line of fire or assisting the other apes in hunts, not by killing preys, but by carrying weapons for the actual meat-eaters to use.
  • Mighty Joe Young (1949). The title giant gorilla is fed liquor and goes on a drunken rampage, turning lions loose and causing tremendous damage.
    • Also happens in the remake, albeit with him getting angry and\or scared instead of drunk.
  • The film Congo has a pack of hyper-territorial gorillas guarding the city of Zinj. The film goes out of it's way to mention that gorillas aren't normally aggressive, and that the hostile ones in the film have been specifically bred for violence. Also, they're smarter than normal gorillas, capable of using tools, tactics, and TEACHING THEIR KIDS HOW TO BE GUARDS.
  • The Three Stooges were often terrorized by, and sometimes befriended by, a gorilla.
  • Dario Argento's Phenomena featured a razor-wielding chimpanzee on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie has a gorilla who goes on a rampage and trashes the studio after his sexual impotence is mentioned. The gorilla is named "Dino" and played by simian impersonator Rick Baker, who also played the title part in Dino de Laurentiis' 1976 remake of King Kong.
  • In Pootie Tang, a gorilla kills Pootie's dad. Apparently, it's a common form of working hazard in the factory he worked.
  • After attacking its cruel circus trainer and escaping, a gorilla in The Ape is killed by the local scientist, who takes its fur to disguise his forced gathering of spinal fluids as gorilla attacks.
  • Hollow Man has an invisible and somewhat vicious gorilla at the beginning. (which could count as Foreshadowing: if a gorilla was altered, how would a human perform?
  • House of Mystery features a cast of characters staying in mansion whose owner is targeted by a Hindu curse that takes the form of a murderous orangutan.
  • Towards the end of Road to Zanzibar, Bob Hope's character gets tossed in a cage with a wrestling gorilla.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the man whose hand is shown turning the pages of the book telling about the search for the Grail gets grabbed suddenly at one point by a gorilla, who proceeds to take over the page-turning role.
  • In Pixels, the final boss is the Donkey Kong, who has his entry in Video Games section.
  • King Louie, the leader of the apes, is going to be portrayed as gigantic and violent in The Jungle Book (2016).

  • In The Murders In The Rue Morgue, Edgar Allan Poe's first tale of Detective Dupin, the murderer is an escaped orangutan. The Universal film adaptation changed it into a gorilla, both because of this trope and because it's really hard to squeeze an actor into an orangutan suit.
  • The Librarian of the Unseen University from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels is an orangutan, prone to violently correcting anyone who calls him a monkey.
  • Animorphs Played with but mostly averted. Marco goes on quite a few rampages in gorilla morph, but it's the bad guys he's usually throwing around. Unlike many of their combat morphs, though, he never mentions the gorilla's instincts as being particularly violent (as opposed to many predators, like big cats or even eagles, that they sometimes have trouble controlling).
  • Tarzan of the Apes and the other Tarzan books have the Mangani (Frazetta Man - like humanoid apes) and the Bolgani (actual gorillas). The two species are mortal enemies, and both of them are portrayed as pretty violent.
  • A gorilla takes a brutal, if entirely justified revenge, on one of the villains at the climax of the Solomon Kane story Red Shadows.
  • Conan the Barbarian takes on an intelligent ape-like creature that has usurped its master in the short story Rogues in the House.
  • Kodo The Ape in Spirit Animals was one of the two Great Beasts to turn evil and help the villain. Being locked up in the middle of a scorching desert for several millennia as punishment has not inspired him to change his ways.
  • In Desert And Wilderness has one attack the protagonists, quite randomly.
  • The H.P. Lovecraft short story Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn mentions that one of Jermyns ancestors, a circus performer who's act consisted of a mock boxing match against a gorilla, was brutally killed by it after he had a breakdown and assaulted it after it accidently punched him too hard during practice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bruno from Misfits.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny confesses that she had a topless scene in a B-movie about a killer gorilla called "Serial Apist". In a later episode, she is offered a part in its sequel, Serial Apist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill.
  • The Electric Company: Several gags involving Paul the Gorilla, although he is completely harmless. Most notably is a skit about f-words (no, not THAT word) where Melanie Henderson blindfolds Luis Avalos, brings in Paul and has him feel fingers, feet, fur and a face before he takes off his blindfold, sees Paul staring him in the face, and then he feels funny and faints. Paul looks at Avalos then stares into the camera.
  • The Gong Show: A recurring gag saw a giant gorilla hand often grab a hilariously bad act often a stunningly beautiful girl and yank her offstage, with host Chuck Barris implying the worst. These were non-scoring acts done for comedy relief.
  • The above mentioned Grodd appears in The Flash (2014), where he's the victim of sadistic Animal Testing from the military prior to his intelligence being enhanced, leaving him to think none too highly of humans.
  • The 100 features the extra-large, probably mutated, post-apocalyptic descendant of a zoo's gorilla habitat, with a habit of letting out monstrous roars before it rips people's limbs off with its bare hands.

  • Lee Scratch Perry's albums Super Ape and Return Of The Super Ape use a gigantic killer gorilla on their album covers.
  • In the music video for "Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz, a bunch of zombie gorillas show up in a graveyard that the band members need to fight.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • The backglass for Atari's Middle Earth pinball shows a giant hairy ape holding a human in one clawed hand while fighting against a giant horned Kaiju.
  • Naturally, these are featured all over the place in Congo

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Various kinds of monstrous, malevolent apes have turned up in various editions and settings for Dungeons & Dragons and assorted spin-offs, such as Pathfinder. In fact, the last module Gary Gygax created for 1st edition before leaving TSR was Isle of the Ape, which was basically a rip-off of King Kong.
  • In the obscure D20 setting Weird Wars II, the bestiary (''Horrors of Weird War II) includes three kinds of ape-man monster; apes given near-human intelligence and trained as Nazi soldiers, apes with Nazi soldier brains transplanted inside of them, and humans mentally devolved into quasi-ape monsters.

  • In Eugene O'Neill's play The Hairy Ape, the protagonist goes to the Zoo to talk to a gorilla and releases it from its cage, whereupon it crushes him to death.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • In the Creepypasta Normal Porn for Normal People the last video, "useless.avi", shows a woman getting mauled to death by a chimpanzee.

    Western Animation 
  • In Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944), Ajax, the titular antagonist, is an extremely violent gorilla escaped from a circus who chases Donald and his nephews through the house before being subdued with a tear gas grenade.
  • Tublat from The Legend of Tarzan. While Tublat's comparatively passive personality from the books were used to make Disney's Kerchak a much gentler character, Kerchak's personality from the books were consequently used to make Disney's Tublat more violent.
  • In an episode of Clerks: The Animated Series, Jay announces that they have "decided we need more gorillas in our empty lives", and they free the gorillas from the fair across the road from the QuikStop. The gorillas proceed to attack everyone in sight. ("Oh no! Caitlyn!" "Except Caitlyn Bree and Dan Whiffler who are *** *** in a car!")
  • In The Venture Bros., one of the many supervillain Captain Ersatzes is King Gorilla, a Manly Gay supervillain gorilla who spent some time in prison with the Monarch. He got thrown into prison for murder and rape (yes, in that order). He was later let out of prison since he was dying of lung cancer.
  • The escaped circus ape in Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers.
  • Genghis Kong in Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf.
  • In Johnny Test, Susan and Mary's oblivious love interest, Gil, is accidentally transformed into a gorilla and causes general mayhem in Porkbelly for awhile before he changes back.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart Gets an F": Bart and Homer watch a killer gorilla movie where the titular antagonist eats people at random.
    • "Treehouse of Horror III": The segment "King Homer," where Homer eats several people, including Mr. Smitgers, Lenny and a Shirley Temple-lookalike.
    • "To Cur With Love" reveals that the predecessor to Krusty's chimp Mr. Teeny was a gorilla who would beat up Krusty, causing him to remark, "next time I get a smaller monkey."
  • One really mean gorilla appears in the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode I Had an Accident". It's played by a live actor in a gorilla suit.
  • Kiki from the Animaniacs episode "Kiki's Kitten" is a violent female gorilla, who only calms down if she gets kitten whom she can play with. Poor Rita gets to be her toy.
  • Gruesome Gorilla from Looney Tunes.
  • Lord Tirek from the My Little Pony TV Specials and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's Season 4 finale is a centaur with a simian head and torso.
  • One of the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, "Terror on the Midway" is about a giant gorilla accidentally getting released in the circus and going on a rampage. Its tamer was nowhere to be found.
  • A cutaway gag in Family Guy at first subverts, then horribly and hilariously plays it straight when Peter mentions how he once introduced a gorilla to a kitten.
    Lois: Awww look Peter! She's taking care of that kitten like its her own child!
    Peter: Yes, I knew that eventually she'd stop tearing them in half. *the camera pans out to show the gorilla sitting next to a small mountain of dismembered kittens*
  • Despite looking like a gorilla, Rondo Jr. from Yakkity Yak serves as a threat to the titular character.

    Real Life 
  • This trope especially comes into play when misguided humans, charmed by how much a baby chimpanzee resembles a human child, try to take one as a pet. The problem comes when this cute little chimp hits puberty and becomes a very strong, very aggressive primate easily strong enough to rip your arm off and beat you to death with it. Or if you're lucky they'll stop at merely ripping your face off.
    • Chimpanzees in general can be Gentle Giants most of the time like gorillas, but they are more unpredictable and have a much worse temper problem. Some of them are belligerent most of the time. So chimps are actually among the few animals (along with hippos, swans and the sort) that are much more dangerous than people generally think. Almost every individual chimpanzee has the potential to play this trope straight, and some chimpanzees play it straight a lot of the time.
    • When Chimpanzee troops undergo a leadership change, it's not uncommon for every chimp in it to go berserk in a bid for power.
  • Averted with real life gorillas though, which fall into the Gentle Giant category. They will normally try to fend off intruders with bluff attacks rather than actually hurting them. The public perception of gorillas being vicious brutes was changed largely due to the research of George Schaller and Dian Fossey. That does NOT mean you should push them too far, though...
    • Male gorillas, however, occasionally commit infanticide, which means that they kill the offspring of rival males they defeat for mating opportunity.
  • This World War I propaganda poster depicts Imperial Germany as a savage gorilla wielding a club and carrying off a woman.
  • There's been some argument among paleontologists if extinct super-ape Gigantopithecus have been like this or not. It clearly was omnivorous and bamboo stalks were major part of its diet (similar to giant panda). Paleontologists find a lot of animal bones in caves where Gigantopithecus supposedly lived and some of those caves are quite far above ground, meaning the dead animals were brought there by some predator. To complicate matters we know pretty little about Gigantopithecus anatomy — all skeletons found are fragmentary; most of the finds are just mandibles (the rest of the skeleton have uses in traditional Chinese medicine). We don't know yet how good it was as a hunter. Also we don't know if the tools and weapons found next to Gigantopithecus bones were made by ancient humans or Gigantopithecus. Of course, unless someone stumbles across one on a deserted island, in Asian mountains or in the backwoods of Washington state, it's all rather academic.