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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.

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.

A subtrope of Maniac Monkeys. For the Lighter and Softer relative of this trope, see Everything's Better with Monkeys.

Examples of Killer Gorilla include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • In The Black Island, the villains keep a gorilla named Ranko to attack anyone who trespasses on the island of the title.
  • DC Comics supervillains Gorilla Grodd and Monsieur Mallah.
  • 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.


  • 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 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.
    • Definitely applies to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, even though those apes are modern-day apes, they're made smarter by a drug. Prominent example: Buck, who launches himself onto a helicopter to take it out.
  • Mighty Joe Young (1949). The title giant gorilla is fed liquor and goes on a drunken rampage, turning lions loose and causing tremendous damage.
  • The film Congo has a pack of hyper-territorial gorillas guarding the city of Zinj.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the Ink&Paint Club had a (Toon) gorilla named Bongo as the doorman/bouncer.
  • 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.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, the henchmen working for Lord Shen that are not wolves are actually gorillas, which are native to Africa despite the film's Asian setting.
  • Subverted in Disney's Tarzan: Kerchak is a very aggressive silverback, but he's just overprotective of his family. He's much Lighter and Softer than his book counterpart, who was the one killing Tarzan's father...
    • That was because his personality is based on a much kinder ape from the books, named Tublat.


Live Action TV

  • Bruno from Misfits.
  • Subverted in the episode "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room". It was believed that the murder victim's pet Chimpanzee, Darwin, had shot his owner and killed him within his panic room (not helping matters when he saw animal control he seemingly went berserk and ended up narrowly missing shooting Stottlemeyer during an interrogation), with only Sharona believing the chimp to be innocent. It turns out the chimp truly was innocent of his death, and if anything, Darwin actually tried to attack the actual murderer, Wolff, the guy who created the panic room in the first place as a death trap due to his wife not wanting a messy divorce settlement, in order to defend his owner, but Wolff ended up killing the owner anyways and framing the chimp (being forced to do so because thanks to Darwin's interference, his kill shot was done in a way that ruled out suicide, his planned method of killing him). Also, Darwin's earlier outburst was due to PTSD due to the animal control operative being bald just like Wolff, which required the operative to wear a hat whenever interacting with him.

Newspaper Comics


  • 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

Western Animation

  • In Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944), Ajax, the titular antagonist.
  • Tublat from The Legend of Tarzan. While Tublat's 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 Brothers, 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.
  • In the B-plot for one episode of The Proud Family where the Prouds (minus Penny due to her working at a store that time) go to the Zoo, Oscar, who had already narrowly survived a trip into an alligator pit from an elephant he ticked off as a kid, ended up being beaten up by a Gorilla. Somewhat justified, as it was strongly implied that the only reason it attacked Oscar was because Oscar fed the gorilla his infamous Proud Snacks in violation of zoo policy regarding not feeding the animals, and the gorilla reacting very badly to the food.

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.
  • Averted Trope 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.