Remember that old adage about "never working with children or animals"?
It was something Terence Stamp should possibly have borne in mind before
agreeing to do Link, in which he gets out-acted by an enormous
orang-utan (seriously - and it's not Ollie Reed, before you ask).
Link is a strange film - very 80s in lots of ways (Stamp's character
loves his microwave oven), with an interesting premise (can you
imagine what it would be like to be attacked by "a baby in a temper
that's ten times as strong as you"?), and quite an old-fashioned
ethos (old country mansion, girl in peril etc). Yet it's practically unknown.
I certainly hadn't heard of it before it came into my possession, and
I had to check its credentials as a British film (which is most definitely
Most satisfyingly, unlike films involving satanic babies (I
Don't Want To Be Born) or killer cats (The
Uncanny), the trio of monkeys in Link actually are frightening-looking
and acting foes. There are points when you really do think Elizabeth Shue,
and not her character, is in real peril.
Shue is an American student studying in Britain, who hears about a summer
job at her lecturer's home on the coast. The lecturer (Stamp) has a thing
about teaching monkeys to interact with humans, and despite not-very veiled
threats about how dangerous it will be working there (the aforementioned
mad baby quote and a tale about how another owner was "ripped to
pieces" by his chimp because the animal was just pleased to see him)
she takes the job.
Once she arrives she destroys all the hard work Emily Pankhurst and her
bra burners achieved in one spectacular exchange...
Stamp: "Can you cook, clean - stuff like that?"
Shue: "Well, I'm female, I guess... that gives me a gnetic aptitude."
Well done, that girl. Now if you'll just strip off for a totally gratuitous
bathroom scene, that would be perfect.
Shue is introduced to Stamp's household - Link, an orang-utan dressed
as a butler who appears completely housetrained and enjoys smoking cigars;
Voodoo, an almost uncontrollable wild chimpanzee; and Imp, a cute little
We discover that Stamp's character is planning on selling Link to a vivisectionist
as he has outlived his usefulness - but Link has his own ideas on the
subject and lets the insane Voodoo out of her cage. Shue is unaware of
Stamp's apparent death, and assumes that he's buggered off back to London
without so much as a by-your-leave. As she soaps herself up in the bath
she is watched by a gurning Link (in a scene which manages to be saucy,
brilliantly done and extremely uncomfortable all at the same time) and
it becomes clear that the dirty old ape has designs on her pert young
The film then quickly becomes a tense cat-and-mouse hunt around Stamp's
decaying mansion, with Link going more and more (pardon me) ape-shit in
the tradition of all good slasher movie baddies. He even manages to survive
several shotgun blasts.
As people turn up at the house only to get brutally murdered and Shue
fights to protect the innocent Imp (whilst still not really knowing what's
going on), we're heading towards what can only be described as a frantic
ending in the best Brit horror "burn the house down" style.
There's even a twist at the end.
Link isn't a bad film - but the best thing about it has to be Link
himself. At times the thing really looks evil, and at no point do you
think "ah look, he's just playing" or "it's a bloke in
a suit!". Unfortunately, it being a mid-80s film, it is saddled with
some of the worst music ever committed to celluloid, which starts off
just being intrusive and ends up totally inappropriate...