Filmmaker will play horror for laffs

Gregg Araki has made a deal with Tartan Films and TLA Releasing to release his latest pic, “Mysterious Skin,” and pacted with U.K.-based Renaissance Films to finance his next, “crEEEEps!”

“CrEEEEps!,” which he also wrote, centers on spoiled teens in a Malibu beach house who must cope with unexpected alien visitors.

Renaissance will rep foreign sales, with domestic going through UTA.

“While I hold the deepest respect for the horror genre, my own sense is that, in 2004, it’s a bit played out,” Araki said. “Same goes for the raunchy ‘American Pie’ teen sex comedy. That’s why with ‘crEEEEps!’ I sought to cross-pollinate these two venerable but exhausted genres to create something vigorous and new.”

Araki plans to put the film in production next spring.

Mary Jane Skalski will produce. She also produced “Mysterious Skin,” which will be released next May in North America by Tartan and TLA.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Manic”), Brady Corbet (“Thirteen”) and Elisabeth Shue star in the film, which Araki adapted from the novel by Scott Heim.

“Mysterious Skin” is the story of two boys who grow up to be affected very differently by a similar traumatic event.

Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Araki also produced the pic, with Fortissimo Films’ Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J. Werner as exec producers. Fortissimo handles international sales. Pic bowed at the Venice Film Festival.

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