Horror film banned from general release

A horror movie about a serial killer has been banned from general release in New Zealand.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification says Maniac, starring Elijah Wood, would be highly disturbing and shocking to children, teenagers and most adults.

The censor says the movie may be injurious to the public good if it was widely released and has restricted it to screenings at film festivals or as part of tertiary film studies.

One of the New Zealand International Film Festival's programmers, Ant Timpson, doesn't agree with the decision.

"To protect society as a whole in terms of one title like this, I think you could start applying so many restrictive measures to so many forms of art - you are going to be limiting culture on a larger scale."

Mr Timpson says it is the first film to receive this classification since 2007.

The film's Australia-based distributor, Monster Pictures, says it will consider all avenues to get the decision overturned.

Spokesperson Neil Foley says the censor's office misunderstands the film and the decision is a gross overreaction.

Listen to Ant Timpson on Checkpoint ( 5 min 20 sec )

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