Link (1985)

Movie: 3 Beers

Transfer: 4 Beers

Sound: 3 Beers

Special Features: 4 Beers

When chimpanzees attack!  Hide the knives!  Hide the pets!  Just don’t hide the undressed Elisabeth Shue!  Link likes!  Link likes!

Maybe it’s the synthesized circus-like music from composer Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen, The Satan Bug, 100 Rifles).  Maybe it’s the shot of Elisabeth Shue stepping from the shower.  Or, hell, maybe it is the POV opening as one crazed chimp terrorizes a city neighborhood and raids a pigeon coop.  Whatever it is, my adoration of producer/director Richard Franklin’s Link, also starring Terence Stamp, will never be tempered. 

Link is gloriously bananas and, thanks to Kino Lorber, the movie is now on blu-ray.  Following in the footsteps of Project X and Stephen King’s Monkey Shines, this is yet another attempt by creative types to cash-in on the whole Jane Goodall craze that infiltrated the 1980s. The fact that this movie was inspired by Goodall’s research and by Franklin’s desire to make a JAWS-like movie with chimps is proof enough.  I mean, what other reason could there be to have a chimp dressed as a butler?  Exactly. 

Written by Everett De Roche (Long Weekend, Patrick, and Roadgames), this horror story concerns itself with Link, a 45-year-old chimpanzee, who hates his owners and he finds anyway he can to lash out against their enslavement.  This includes the good Dr. Steven Phillip (Stamo), an anthropologist who studies the mental well-being of chimpanzees and, at the insistence of Shue as Jane Chase, a student eager to work with Phillip and assist him with his chimpanzee studies.  It all goes to pot relatively soon after she moves in to his isolated estate.

And, like any good movies, there are rules to the care of the chimpanzees, especially as they pertain to Link, who has developed quite the crush on Jane.  It’s easily done by ANY male, especially when Link ogles her body any chance he can.  Hell, he even smokes a cigar to impress her.  Already we are being pushed forward on a clash between new and old worlds; between the civilized and the uncivilized, and it works to create some fairly interesting scenes that question morality, abuse, and all the other secrets hidden in the cellar of Phillip’s estate.

Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, Link – especially when it puts us through the slow-motion effect while Link lets the other chimps out of their cages to surround Phillip – is never long without a reason to laugh or cringe at all the monkeying around.  I mean, the damn chimp tries to blow them all up at one point in the movie.  It’s pretty obvious he has it in for these humans, even if he is a bit too demanding for his own good.

While the screenplay might not have been much of a joke, the film itself – especially with Goldsmith’s music and Shue’s performance – has a mixed tone that makes us rather unsure of who exactly the villains are.  That peaceful setting – actually Scotland – is very deceiving, but it works to create a sort of demented atmosphere that makes this film, in all its hairy glory, simply unforgettable.

Link is now available on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics and its solid 4K restoration.

Blu-ray Specifications:

Presented in a crisp 1080p transfer, Link and its new 4K scan of the original negative is a thing of pristine beauty.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that absolutely burst with color.  The clothing and the setting are both detailed and the simple backgrounds burst with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural.  Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen.  Audio wise, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is clear and the dialogue is never lost or hard to hear.

Commentary:

Fans of this feature get a new commentary with Film Historian Lee Gambin and critic Jarret Gahan.

Special Features:

If the 4K restoration is not enough to get you to buy this release, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has also armed it with new interviews, a new commentary, and deleted workprint scenes.

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Lee Gambin and Film Critic Jarret Gahan

Deleted workprint scenes

Audio interview with director Richard Franklin

Jerry Goldsmith demo of the LINK theme

Theatrical Teaser

Theatrical Trailer

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