LINK (1986) Lab-tested chimps go wild.

link_usposterTheme Song: Amazingly enough, none.

Interesting Dated References: Elisabeth Shue.

Best Line: With regard to an ape — “We’ve got to out-think him!”

Social Context: Much like Monkey Shines, Project X, the Every Which Way… series and similar themed monkey films of the 70s & 80s, the overall message seems to be based around humans attempting to enslave or control animals/nature. Overwhelmingly the response from animal/nature is always negative and designed to show us that science cannot control nature.

Summary: I used to think Elisabeth Shue was what most women were like when my 9-year-old self spotted her in Adventures in Babysitting. Then when she got more supportive and caring in Back To The Future II & III, I was certain all women were like that. Years later I saw Leaving Las Vegas and realized that may be a more accurate portrayal of what most women were actually like.

Link opens up and we see Elisabeth walking to college. Once in class, we see a lengthy lecture about what man and ape have in common with overtones of how strong they are. Shue asks the teacher if he needs an assistant. Luckily for the plot, he does, and off she goes to his huge house to help out during holiday. Holiday is what we call a vacation in America, except it’s a lot longer and you get more of it. The professor is played by the Terence Stamp (Zod from Superman). He shows her around the place and introduces her to the few chimps around the house: Imp, Voodoo, and Link. A few ground rules are laid as well. I’m sure this is all designed to overshadow stuff that goes wrong later on in the film. A lot of camera time is devoted to the orangutan, Link. He acts as the butler for the house, with excellent comedic timing. So the professor does some lectures to Shue, and then all the monkeys go apeshit and the professor disappears. It is also at this point Shue realizes there is a cave in the professor’s basement that leads to the ocean. It is also at this time that Shue realizes that she can’t walk into town because of wild dogs surrounding the area. I’m sure both of these things won’t come into play at all during the movie. I also want to note here that the back of the Beta box says Link is a chimpanzee, but on the net he is identified as an orangutan, which is what I’m going with.

Left to her own devices, and with the Professor missing, Shue does what any sensible young woman would do: she takes a bath and goes to bed. Link is stalking her pretty hard and the whole movie sort of takes on a Straw Dogs-with-apes vibe. At one point, Link clearly wants to mount her when the bath is going on. Things continue to get bizarre when Link lifts up a car, disconnects the phone, tries to push Shue into the lake, and then goes totally “bananas” and starts trying to kill her. So, after a somewhat tense chase scene, Shue escapes, then returns when she realizes her studly boyfriend and his friends have returned to rescue her. They all get killed except for her boyfriend. Then there is another bizarre chase scene involving natural gas and lots of choppy ape stunt shots that I think were performed by a midget, and Link goes down in flames.

Link is actually a pretty good movie. The direction and cinematography are actually thought out, and dare I say done with artistic integrity. Add to this the monkey shines going on throughout the film, and you have a recipe for success! Not financial success, but success as far as good monkey shines are concerned.

Poster and Box Art The US poster art for Link is a little weak and the way the monkey is painted makes it look kind of like some bad Harry and the Hendersons rip-off. I remember seeing this at the video store when I was younger and that’s always what I assumed it was. I had no clue that it was a horror movie. The poster used overseas was way better:

link_europeposter

Now you definitely know something bad is going to happen with that poster.

Availability: You can buy Link on DVD, although it seems a bit pricey at $50.00. No word on if it’s re-mastered though, but since it’s priced so high, I would venture to say it might be. Fuck the high price, just rent it through Netflix.

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