On FX’s “Wilfred,” Elijah Wood plays a man who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit (Jason Gann). | Prashant Gupta~FX
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:28AM
NEW YORK — When Elijah Wood talks about the 1978 slasher film “Halloween,” he sounds, well, giddy.
“The feeling that I get from the movie?” he says. “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 his own fledgling horror production company and a starring role in a new slasher film.
Wood plays a serial killer in “Maniac,” available on demand and screening at midnight Friday and Saturday nights at the Music Box Theatre. The film is 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.
His Woodshed Horror Co. 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.
Q. Where did this love of the horror genre come from?
A. I think I’ve always been relatively fearless, so they never really scared me.
Q. Do you have a favorite villain?
A. I love [“Halloween” killer] Mike Myers. 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 Regan in “The Exorcist” I love and find horrifyingly scary. Freddy Krueger is more fun. He becomes a jokester which is fun to watch. That’s another angle with horror.
Q. Your TV series “Wilfred” is now in its third season (airing at 9 p.m. Thursdays. on FX.) Do you have a theory as to why your character Ryan sees this dog as a man in a dog suit?
A. 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 imposed by others in his life.
Q. Do you think there will ever be a big reveal about why he sees Wilfred?
A. I don’t think there should be, personally. I think that’s part of the magic of the show. Wilfred is Wilfred and people can have their own ideas as to what Wilfred is and why. But, 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.