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Wood's new horror banned in NZ

18:41 Wed Jul 24 2013

If you want to see a former hobbit become a maniac, you'll have to buy tickets to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Elijah Wood's serial killer horror, Maniac, has been banned from being screened anywhere in the country - unless it's part of festival screenings.

Maniac, a remake of the 1980s film of the same name, stars Wood as Frank Zito, a mentally disturbed man who kills women.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification ranked the film R18 (graphic violence, sex scenes, content that may disturb) and will allow it only to be aired for the purpose of study or as part of a film festival.

The festival-only classification also means the film can't be released on DVD in New Zealand.

Maniac is due to be screened as part of the NZIFF's Incredibly Strange segment and is scheduled for viewings only in Auckland and Wellington.

"The OFLC decision says that the film may be 'injurious to the public good' if it goes out on a wider release," Incredibly Strange organiser Ant Timpson said.

"I can see the thought process behind it but I think it's rather a big leap to make."

Meanwhile, sales to this year's NZIFF in Wellington are down, with organisers putting that down to the city's earthquakes.

"We have been assured by the theatre operators that all our venues are cleared for public occupation and that none of the buildings sustained any damage in the recent shakes," NZIFF director Bill Gosden said.

NZIFF is under way in Auckland until August 4 and kicks off in Wellington on Friday.