Elijah Wood horror film Maniac banned in Hobbit home of New Zealand

Wood’s new flick deemed “injurious to the public good” and won’t make it into cinemas

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Elijah Wood’s latest movie Maniac, a remake of the 1980 serial killer thriller, has been banned from cinemas in New Zealand – the country where the star shot the acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy – after being dubbed “injurious to the public good” by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OLF).

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Maniac is filmed from the point of view of Wood’s character Frank, a psychopath with a twisted penchant for scalp collecting. The OLF says that by shooting it in this way the filmmakers have provided a “tacit invitation to enjoy cruel or violent behaviour” adding that it is likely to “lead to the erosion of empathy for some viewers.” 

Maniac will now appear in the Incredibly Strange section of the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) rather than in cinemas.

Festival programmer Ant Simpson said of the move to restrict screenings of Maniac: “The OLF decision says that the film may be ‘injurious to the public good’ if it goes out on wider release. It has been deemed that the point-of-view nature of the film (from the perspective of Wood’s psychopath character Frank) is ‘more than disturbing’ and ‘potentially dangerous in the hands of the wrong person’. It’s only my opinion but I simply don’t agree with this decision.”

Meanwhile, Monster Flicks, the production company behind the remake, said on its website: “The weirdest thing about this banning is that they have only set the ban to apply to exhibition outside of bona-fide film festivals – basically festival crowds are sophisticated enough to handle this kind of material but the poor old Joe Averages of the world would be in danger of setting off on a path of hideous scalping should they lay their ignorant peepers on it!

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“We will explore every option to have the banning revoked, but at this stage, it ain’t looking good.”