Elijah Wood's Slasher Film Maniac Banned in New Zealand

Movie is restricted to film festivals and cannot be given a theatrical release due to "psychopathic" content

By Peter Gicas Jul 25, 2013 2:08 PMTags
Maniac, Elijah WoodP2 Productions

This is scary.

No, we're not referring to Elijah Wood's movie Maniac, in which the actor plays a psychopathic killer, but rather a decision that bans the film from being released theatrically in New Zealand.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the country's Office of Film and Literature Classification has restricted the viewing of the remake of the 1980 cult hit to film festivals and film-studies courses. So, in addition to not being shown in theaters, the movie cannot be released on DVD, either.

Maniac is due to screen at the New Zealand International Film Festival at the end of the month.

Ant Timpson, a programmer for the festival, commented on the ruling in a statement.

"It's saying the POV (point of view) nature of the film mixed with the psychopathic behavior of actor Elijah Wood is more than disturbing; it's potentially dangerous in the hands of the wrong person—that is, a non-festival-goer," Timpson said.

Meanwhile, Neil Foley of Melbourne-based distributor Monster Pictures said on the company's website that "banning the film beyond festival screenings is an insult to the intelligence of the adult population of New Zealand and does little more than to serve as an open invitation to illegally pirate the film. We will explore every option to have the banning revoked, but at this stage it ain't looking good."

Directed by Franck Khalfoun, Maniac premiered at Cannes in 2012 and opened in the U.S. last month.