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Killer Space Monkey

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Maybe it's because they land somewhere in the Uncanny Valley. Maybe, as with the Monster Clown, it's because writers like subverting the traditionally "cute". Maybe it is a reflection of our savage ancestry. Maybe it's a remnant of our struggle with our differently evolved cousins. Maybe its a twisted take on the Apes in Space motif. Or maybe it's simply that monkeys make everything better. Whatever the reason, killer simians make for good alien monsters.

Such extraterrestrial monkeys tend to be brutish killing machines — an intelligent alien ape is usually a subversion. If Humans Are Warriors and/or Humans Are the Real Monsters, then technically we might be an example to aliens.

Earthly villains who happen to be actual apes are not Killer Space Monkeys.

See also Maniac Monkeys. May be a Killer Gorilla IN SPACE!. Not to be mistaken with Apes in Space, who are monkeys that go into space.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: The Saiyans used their power to transform into giant "apes"note  during the full moon to conquer planets for Frieza. Calling the Saiyans "monkeys" was a bit of a racial slur used by Frieza and his underlings.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City has the Gorilla Swarm, a pack of gorilla monsters with insect heads and a Hive Mind.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: A group of intelligent killer space monkeys appears in "Sins of the Fathers".
  • Green Lantern: The aptly named Space Ape is a King Kong Copy who became a Green Lantern.
  • Nexus: The Thunes resemble apes. Thunes are an intelligent race, though, and are just as varied morality-wise as humans. The two most prominent Thune castmembers are Nexus's two best friends, Dave and his son Fred, who calls himself Judah.
  • Superman has met a few alien apes with powers similar to his own:
    • King Krypton, who was revealed to have been a Kryptonian scientist who was turned into a gorilla and launched into space. He was hoping that cosmic radiation would cure him.
    • Beppo The Super Monkey was a Kryptonian chimpanzee that managed to sneak aboard the rocket that brought baby Superman to Earth and stay hidden on Earth until Superboy was a teenager. He later joined Krypto and Supergirl's Streaky and Comet in the Legion Of Super-Pets.
    • Superboy once met Yango, a Kryptonian gorilla uplifted by a scientist then sent to Earth. Yango conveniently landed near a hidden Underground City inhabited by intelligent gorillas. He grows up to become their Superman Substitute leader.
  • The Transformers (Marvel) has a race of (somewhat) intelligent, vicious cyborg monkeys living in limbo.
  • In Warlord of Mars, the white apes are multi-armed gorilla-like monsters that frequently prey on the civilized peoples in Barsoom. Their viciousness is highlighted in the Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars miniseries where the Helium princess and her ladies-in-waiting are trapped inside a ruin filled with these monsters. They kill every single one of Dejah's friends.

    Fan Works 
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends:
    • Lex's DIR units are not real monkeys, actually being robots in shoddy monkey costumes, but they're still monkey-looking Killer Robots from outer space.
    • The upgraded SADIR units are even more dangerous, being much larger and more heavily armed, while still wearing monkey disguises. Tak notes that while the regular DIRs look like spider monkeys, the SADIRs are more like mandrils.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ad Astra: the crazy and voracious baboons Clifford bumps into in the Norwegian space station are not of alien origin of course, but their scene still has all the beats of Sci-Fi Horror.
  • Evolution: The aliens start evolving into ape-monsters around the third act of the film as they reach the monkey stage of the evolutionary "ladder".
  • Godzilla: The Simeons are a race of apes from a planet that's coming close to being sucked into a black hole, and who decided to relocate themselves to Earth and built Mechagodzilla to try and conquer the planet in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla.
  • Planet of the Apes has apes who are exactly as brutish and nasty as humans. Also, they're not from space.
  • Robot Monster is an infamously silly example, with the alien invader Ro-Man buying portrayed by a man in a gorilla suit with a space helmet.
  • Space Monster Wangmagwi, a Korean kaiju film, have it's titular creature, a monkey-like giant behemoth sent by a hostile alien race to destroy humanity.
  • Star Wars: Wookiees are typically intelligent and heroic, but they're still among the biggest badasses in the galaxy and absolutely not to be messed with. The Wampa from Hoth is a more traditionally monstrous version, combining traits of apes, polar bears, and yetis.

  • John Carter of Mars has the White Apes — gigantic, four-armed Martian primates. Probably the Trope Maker, since the John Carter books are some of the earliest alien adventure stories ever written.
  • Known Space has multiple hominids evolved from the Pak, including a whole Ringworld full of sentient and non-sentient types. The Morlocks of Wunderland are also apelike cave-dwellers.
  • Planet of the Apes has apes who are exactly as brutish and nasty as humans. Unlike in the film franchise listed above, they are extraterrestrial — except, presumably, for the ones the protagonist meets on Earth at the very end.
  • Star Wars Legends: On of the animals described in The Wildlife of Star Wars is the veermok, a Nabooian predator resembling a large, carnivorous and highly aggressive gorilla.

    Live Action TV 
  • Alien Worlds (2020): The primary predators in the Eden segment are aggressive, tarsier-like creatures that prey on the smaller grazing animals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Alternity had the baboon-like Weren, who were also Proud Warrior Race Guys but typically not hostile.
  • AT-43: The Karmans are sapient, technologically advanced gorillas used as shock troops and agents by ancient aliens intent on destroying all other sapient life.
  • In Eclipse Phase police forces on Mars often use genetically modified baboons adapted to the atmosphere in a role similar to police dogs, and a lot of people are scared of them. In one of the stories an Olympus Ranger character has two of them, one of which smokes and is prone to tearing faces off if he doesn’t get his nicotine fix.
  • Space 1889 High Martians look and act like evil flying monkeys.
  • Spelljammer brought the Yazirians back, but renamed them "Hadozee," or "deck apes."
  • Starfinder has the maraquoi (seven-sexed, compound-eyed langur-people), the seprevoi (four-legged, hooved baboon-people) and the neskinti (basically hadozee Expies). Of these, only the neskinti are likely to be hostile (by virtue of being a subject race of the Azlanti Star Empire); the maraquoi are Pact Worlds citizens, and the seprevoi are neutral.
  • Star Frontiers had the Yazirians as a playable race. They were generally good guys, of the Proud Warrior Race Guy sort. They were subsequently ported over into Spelljammer as the Hadozee.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Not so much killer, as their role is more of The Engineer despite questionable sapience, but there are the Jokaero, a race of space orangutans. They produce fantastically advanced and powerful weapons which can fire in a variety of modes (heavy flamer, lascannon, melta), and it's possible to have an entire army of them plus one Inquisitor.

    Video Games 
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops: The Cosmic Silverback in the Dead Ops Arcade minigame, along with the much smaller Space Monkeys in the Nazi Zombies map Ascension.
  • City of Heroes has transdimensional psychic monkeys that emit toxic gas when defeated, and gives you a badge for "arresting" 1000 of them.
  • Crash Nitro Kart has Krunk, the first boss racer faced, who is a blue mandrill-like alien from Terra, a jungle planet similar to Earth. He holds a grudge against the Earthlings because he believes that their planet copied his, although he admits after his defeat that it was actually the other way around.
  • Maya from Demon Front is the only member of the playable heroes who isn't a Human Alien, who is instead a simian humanoid.
  • Star Fox: Andross, the Big Bad, is an evil scientist appearing as a giant orangutan head and hands. Most of his underlings are also monkeys and apes.
  • Sword of the Stars: The Tarka are one part reptile and one part this. In return, they consider us this too.
  • System Shock 2 had creepy zombie space lab monkeys. With Psychic Powers (either cryokinesis or pyrokinesis, depending on which kind of monkey).
  • Turok: The Purr-Lin are essentially a combination of gorilla and reptile.
  • Unreal II: The Awakening: The Izarians, psychotic aliens who are the first enemies you fight. Even lampshaded in-game by a character.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive: The Lespuko is an aggressive alien whose name means "Rock Ape".

    Western Animation 
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars!: The Betelgeusian Berserker Baboons make up the bulk of S.P.A.C.E.'s Space Marine contingent and are more likely than not to go for Good Old Fisticuffs in a setting where Frickin' Laser Beams are the standard armament. The first baboon seen is a warp drive engineer, but that doesn't stop him from drop-kicking his way through a bulkhead. However, the baboons are firmly in the heroic camp, though they are The Dreaded to the Toads, and tend towards the Blood Knight side of the spectrum. They are also, unlike most examples of this trope, rather small (by human standards, they tower over most of the cast). Willy is a pre-teen human boy, but he can comfortably wear Betelgeusian combat armor with only minor alterations.
  • Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys had as its main cast a group of good guy space monkeys. The Big Bad, meanwhile, had an evil cyborg space monkey after them, RHESUS-2.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In Dial M for Monkey, Simion seeks revenge on the human population for sending him into space and becoming a super ape.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: One episode has Titano (see Comics section) as Lois Lane's pet monkey (her father was part of NASA at the time.) He eventually lands in Metropolis, starts growing to massive size and runs amok downtown.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: They're technically the good guys, but they have no compunction whatsoever against killing their enemies and being brutal about it.