King Klunk – The Cartoon Deemed ‘Horrific’ By The British Censors


The antics of an animated giant ape were too much for the BBFC.

The British Board of Film Censors was the only authority in the world to have a specific certificate for horror films. Introduced in 1932 after pressure from local authorities who were concerned about the new horror genre that had emerged in the wake of Dracula a year earlier, the H certificate was the first age-restricted certificate in the UK – previously, the U and A certificates had been advisory only, but the H specifically banned under 16s from seeing a film. The certificate lasted until 1951 when it was replaced by the X, which covered a whole range of adult themes.

British censorship being what it is, some decidedly odd titles were saddled with the H, none odder than the 1933 cartoon King Klunk. A satire on King Kong that was part of the Pooch the Pup series, the film would seem to be ideal juvenile entertainment, but the BBFC decided that it was horrific enough to be restricted. To be fair, several Betty Boop cartoons were banned outright around the same time, so it might have escaped lightly.


King Klunk is a pretty funny spoof of King Kong, following the story surprisingly closely, with Pooch and his unnamed girlfriend venturing to Africa to try to photograph the legendary Klunk.

As with many a cartoon of the era, the film contains some pretty un-PC imagery and if you are the sort of person who can’t view eighty-year-old films without seeing them through the prism of modern standards, then you might find this even more offensive than the BBFC did and should probably not watch it.

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One comment

  1. The H certificate was merely advisory until 1st Jan 1937 when local authorities pressured the BBFC to make it compulsory to put on posters. I’m reading a book on it at the moment

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