The psychopath played by Elijah Wood in serial killer pic Maniac is no Frodo, and the Kiwi government has taken note, banning the movie from being released theatrically. New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification says Maniac can be shown only if it’s being used in a tertiary media, a film studies course or screened as part of a festival. And in each case, the audience must be over 18. Directed by Franck Khalfoun and produced by The Artist‘s Thomas Langmann, Maniac is a remake of William Lustig’s 1980 grindhouse classic. It premiered in Cannes in 2012 and was released last month in the U.S. by IFC Midnight. It’s shot entirely from the POV of Wood’s character and the OFLC decision says that may be injurious to the public good because the viewer is put in the position of the killer. The ruling also means the film cannot be released on DVD. The ban 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 are flabbergasted,” said Neil Foley of Melbourne, Australia-based distributor Monster Pictures. In a blog post, Monster said it will “explore every option” to have the ban revoked, “but at this stage it ain’t looking good.” Maniac is the first film to receive the festival-only classification since Eric Steel’s suicide documentary The Bridge in 2007. Maniac is screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival and Monster is eyeing an October release in Australia.
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