NEW YORK - To hear Elijah Wood talk about the 1978 slasher film "Halloween," he sounds, well, giddy.
"I've seen it so many times," he said in a recent interview. "The feeling that I get from the movie? It's almost like the feeling one would get from watching a Christmas movie. It made me feel happy! Like, I don't know if it's a sense of nostalgia I attach to the film? Maybe I've seen it so many times it feels like, you know, an old familiar record or something. But I put it on and I feel joy watching that film."
Such is the reaction of a true lover of the horror genre. The 32-year-old actor, known for "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and his FX TV series "Wilfred" and in the music world as a popular DJ, has an encyclopedic knowledge of scary movies, with a starring role in the new film "Maniac" and his own fledgling horror production company.
Wood plays a serial killer in "Maniac," a film told entirely from his point of view - you see Wood only in his reflections or in his hands as they cross in front of the camera.
In a recent interview, Wood said he found the experience to be extremely technical but also an exciting, collaborative effort.
"You go into (shooting from a point of view aspect) thinking, `It's gonna be easy. It's a single shot but you're under such intense parameters that every scene became a puzzle."
Wood's new production company The Woodshed Horror Company has three movies in the works. Its first film picked up for distribution, "Toad Road", was discovered at the horror film festival Nightmare City (which The Woodshed helped present.) It will hit theaters in October.
AP: Where did this love of the horror genre come from?
Wood: I think I've always been relatively fearless, so they never really scared me.
AP: What was the first horror film you ever saw?
Wood: I saw my first horror film when I was 5. It was a movie called "Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness," and it was a VHS like direct-to-video horror film. Part of the reason I was excited about watching it, I remember, was I knew that I wasn't supposed to. So that of course as a child you do all the things that you know is not... like it's suddenly more exciting. But I love the movie.
AP: Do you have a favorite villain?
Wood: I love Mike Meyers. He didn't have a long shelf-life because I didn't love all the iterations of that character. He's a great rendering of the boogey man. Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining" is extraordinary. I tend to find characters from a more rooted, real place to be more frightening and unsettling. What happens to Reagan in "The Exorcist" I love and find horrifyingly scary. Freddy Kruger is more fun. He becomes a jokester which is fun to watch. That's another angle with horror.
AP: Your TV series "Wilfred" is now in its third season (airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. on FX.) Do you have a theory as to why your character Ryan sees this dog as a man in a dog suit?
Wood: My feeling is that he's a manifestation of his psyche as a result of having reached an impasse mentally in his life. It's almost like something has snapped and it's a part of his psyche that was lying dormant that is now kind of pushing him to live kind of beyond the confines that he's somehow created for himself or maybe self-imposed, maybe imposed by others in his life.
AP: Ryan addresses his confusion over seeing Wilfred on the series but do you think there will ever be a big reveal about that?
Wood: I don't think there should be, personally. I think that's part of the magic of the show. Wilfred is Wilfred and I think people can have their own ideas as to what Wilfred is and why. But, I think if you kind of definitely answer that, even at the end. Like let's say it ends in two or three more seasons or whatever and the end is the answer, I think that misses the point. I think the point is in the searching and it's in the relationship and it's in what's gained in that relationship.