New Zealand has banned a horror film starring Elijah Wood as a scalp-collecting serial killer because it's too graphic and disturbing for the public.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification action means Maniac cannot be screened anywhere other than film festivals or as part of academic study. DVDs of the film will not be allowed for sale.

The government censor said the film's graphic violence could harm the public.

Monster Pictures, distributor of the film for Australia and New Zealand, said Thursday that the decision was a gross overreaction.

The ban was also condemned on Thursday by organizers of the New Zealand International Film Festival, which will be screening the movie on Saturday. A remake of a 1980 slasher film, it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Wood is part of the large ensemble cast in the New Zealand-filmed trilogies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.