Elijah Wood spent a healthy amount of time in New Zealand while filming the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but that hasn't stopped the country from giving the ax to the actor's new movie. "Maniac," a brutal slasher film that hit U.S. theaters last month, has been banned from theatrical release in the island country, Deadline.com reports.
New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification is preventing "Maniac" from being screened anywhere other than a film festival or in an academic course, and only when the entire audience is at least 18. The ruling also prevents the movie from being released on DVD.
Australian distribution company Monster Pictures says it will fight to overturn the ban, but Creative Director Neil Foley says "at this stage it ain’t looking good." Foley feels the ruling "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."
"Maniac" joins a list of equally hyper-violent films to receive moratoriums in New Zealand, the most recent of which was 2012's "A Serbian Film." Others include "The Human Centipede 2," "Hostel: Part II," "Mad Max" and "Cannibal Holocaust."
The OFLC says "Maniac," a remake of the 1980 movie of the same name, may be harmful to viewers because it is presented from the vantage point of Wood's violent killer.
Director Franck Khalfoun called the movie "nauseating." He told BANG Showbiz, "We had a screening here in Los Angeles and somebody passed out, which I pat myself on the back for."