YEAR RELEASE: 1986
DIRECTOR: Richard Franklin
CAST: Elisabeth Shue, Terence Stamp, Steven Phillip, David O’Hara, Steven Pinner
REVIEW BY SIMON BALL
When zoology student Jane Chase (Elizabeth Shue) volunteers to help Dr Steven Philip (Terence Stamp) with his research into chimp intelligence at an isolated creepy old house on the English coast, you know it isn’t going to end well.
Philip shares his country pile with three chimps: Voodoo a dangerously violent elderly female, cute, cuddly baby Imp and Link, a former circus performer, with a penchant for cigars, trained to act as Philip’s butler.
Naturally Philip vanishes pretty soon after mentioning having Voodoo put down, and the creepy stuff ratchets up further when Link spies on Chase taking a bath. Before long all kinds of mayhem breaks loose as the formerly docile butler turns into a deranged super strong killer
When Jane’s boyfriend arrives at the scene, his pal says ‘If it’s alright with you, I’ll wait outside’. Yes it’s the horror movie equivalent of wearing a red jumper on Star Trek and mayhem breaks out as Jane and her bf fight for survival. Fortunately for them no one told Link to check the gas was off before firing up a stogie. See it’s true, smoking will get you in the end folks.
According to director Richard Franklin Link was supposed to be Jaws with primates, but whereas sharks are just eating machines, chimps are pretty smart and staying out of the drink won’t save you from one gone bad even if he is rather obviously played by an orang-utan with his fur died black. What makes Link so effective as a chiller for me, are the close ups of Links face as he goes about his evil business.
The thing is he looks so darn harmless, but behind that benign expression you can imagine that there is all kinds of nastiness going on in his head. When you add Jerry Goldsmith’s jolly circus type incidental music to Link’s screen time you have a potent creep out recipe.
My only gripes with Link are the prologue, which was apparently added later at the insistence of producers Golan and Globus to set the chimp’s psycho behaviour up for the audience, which just wasn’t needed and there is just not enough screen time for Terence Stamp, but of a waste.