Ever had the urge to cast your eyes over a flick that features an orang-utan perving over a naked Elisabeth Shue?

You have? Well in that case make a beeline for Link, Richard Franklin’s bizarre tale of simian madness.

I watched this film for the first time a couple of days ago, and to be totally honest I still don’t really know what to make of it.

Part comedy (both intentional and unintentional), part slasher movie and part interesting theorising on man’s link with the apes, this fits into that narrow horror genre that features the likes of Romero’s Monkey Shines.

It all starts off quite innocent enough as we are introduced to eager student Jane Chase (Shue), who is a big fan of the work of Dr Steven Philip (Terence Stamp).

Attending his classes at the ‘London School Of Sciences’, Chase is anxious to further her studies, and talks herself into spending the summer at Dr Philip’s coastal home as a sort of hired help.

From there she is able to get up close and personal to the doctor’s collection of specimens, namely chimps Imp and Voodoo, as well as orang-utan Link (who naturally serves as the home’s butler).

But after a rather innocuous opening to her stay, Jane quickly realises more is going on behind locked lab doors than she realises, and before long the corpses begin to pile up as Link goes on the rampage.

I was a big fan of some of Franklin’s other work, namely Road Games and the underrated Psycho II, but this effort lurches wildly in tone from one scene to the next, with borderline slapstick comedy making way for in-your-face violence in the blink of an eye.

More annoyingly, the lead characters also elect against the various opportunities that present themselves to off Link, which simply doesn’t ring true.

There is also an incredibly bad soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith – a play on Link’s former role as a circus talent that constantly disrupts the flow of the film.

Stamp and Shue are fine enough, but a handful of other characters are then thrown in towards the climax of the film, seemingly for no other reason than to up the bodycount.

One has to admit though that the performances of the various animals in this are spectacular, with orang-utan Link in particular proving a delicious mix of innocence and menace.

When he gets going and the tension cranks up Link comes into its own – it just takes far too long getting there.

 

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.