Japan's Kadokawa Pictures is to remake the 1968 YoshiyukiKuroda hit The Big Spook War (Yokai Daisenso) with director TakashiMiike at the helm.

Announcing the film at the Kadokawa Daei Studio, Kadokawapresident Tsuguhiko Kadokawa said it was the first instalment in a series thatwill "rival Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings in itsworldwide appeal."

In the original film a European vampire possesses the spiritof a Japanese Lord, inspiring local ghosts and goblins to go on the attack. Thenew film, however, promises to be a departure. The spook defying hero will beplayed by eleven-year-old Ryunosuke Kamiki, while action legend Bunta Sugawarawill play his grandfather and popular TV talent Chiaki Kuriyama will play agoblin working for the forces of evil.

Miike, the enfant terrible of the Japanese film industry,dealt with a similar subject matter in this year's superhero parody Zebramanand his 2002 horror send-up The Happiness of the Katakuris.

The development team for the film includes 82-year -old ShigeruMizu, the artist responsible for the comic on which the original film wasbased. Release is scheduled for next August.

The Big Spook War is the first film to be announcedby Kadokawa Pictures, the new company formed in April by the mergerbetween the Kadokawa parent company's film production arms and its Daieisubsidiary.

Founded in 1942, the Daiei studio was a major industry forcein the 1950s and 1960s, responsible for Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon andthe Zatoichi series, among many others. The company went bankrupt in1971, but in 1974 came under the corporate umbrella of the Tokuma ShotenPublishing company. In November of 2002, Kadokawa purchased Daiei from Tokuma,together with its 1,600 film library, and merged it with its film divisionunder the name Kadokawa Daiei, now changed to Kadokawa Pictures.

In addition to The Big Spook War, Kadokawa is alsoplanning New G.I. Samurai -- a remake of a 1979 film by Mitsumasa Saitoabout a squadron of Self Defense Force soldiers who time travel back to 16th centuryJapan (see separate story on ScreenDaily.com) - and new instalment ofthe studio's signature Gamera series about a giant flying turtle.