Takashi Shimizu, riding highafter the sensational US launch of his English-language horror feature TheGrudge, will begin filming LionsGate International's third J-Horror picture The Death in March 2005 in Japan

Lions Gate Internationalretains worldwide distribution on The Death and launched the J-Horror franchise with Japaneseproducer Taka Ichise in Cannes this year.

The first two releases - Infection (Kansen)by Masayuki Ochiai and Premonition(Yogen) by Norio Tsuruta - haveopened in Japan through Toho, and Lions Gate has already sewn up worldwidesales on the franchise.

Other Japanese directors inthe series include Hideo Nakata, whose credits include Ringu and Dark Water, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who directed Cure and Pulse, and Hiroshi Takahashi, who wrote the Ring trilogy and makes his directorial debut.

"Reaction to the J-Horrorseries in Japan has been fantastic and we look forward to the ongoing successof this first-class franchise for our international distributors and continuingour relationship with Taka Ichise," Sergei Yershov, Lions Gate FilmsInternational co-president said in a statement.

"Shimizu has proven that heis a master of his genre in both the original Japanese form and now withEnglish-language remakes," Peter Block, Lions Gate's president of acquisitionsand co-productions, added.

"We have every confidencethat The Death will shock anddelight audiences continuing Shimizu's and producer Taka Ichise's impressive internationalbox office record."

Shimizu directed a total offour theatrical and video versions of Ju-on, reprising his role earlier this year on theEnglish-language version for Senator International and Ghost House Pictures.

The Grudge opened top in the US charts through ColumbiaPictures last weekend on more than $39m. Lions Gate released the Japaneseoriginal in US theatres this year and will roll out the DVD on Nov 9.

The J-Horror series has soldto Metro Tartan in the UK, Metropolitan in France, Filmax in Spain, Mikado inItaly, and Showbox/Milestone in Korea, among others.