It’s a match made in heaven, or perhaps that should be hell – considering we’re talking about horror.

What do you get if you cross a Hollywood film composer and multi-instrumentalist, what has become a cult Colchester classic, and Vincent Price?

The answer is The Evil Bat, a beautiful melange of three horror movies expertly spliced to create one new film, the best bit of which is its new original score composed and performed live by the incomparable Jason Frederick.

Fans of the Colchester Arts Centre’s Classic Horror Nights will be more than familiar with the Canadian musician who for the last 10 years has made his home here.

Now based just across the Suffolk-border in Hadleigh, Jason lived in Colchester for many years after moving across the pond with his wife, who was born and brought up in Essex.

Jason started his musical career in the country of his birth, going on to be one of Canada’s top rock draws as the frontman for alternative band The Walk in the 90’s. Following his stint in the band, he moved to LA where he wrote the music for several Hollywood movies
Since moving here, he’s carved out a distinctive musical niche with his Cinematic Trio; performing classic film scores from the likes of Bullet and Dirty Harry; as well as The Charlie Brown Christmas show, which has been a popular draw at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room for the last couple of years.

He is also the man behind Colchester Arts Centre’s cult favourite, the Classic Horror Nights, where Jason introduces a horror movie from a bygone age, the most recent of which will be this week’s Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (Thursday, October 20, doors 7.30pm, film starts at 8pm).

But later this month, also at the Arts Centre, Jason is serving up an extra special horror treat.
“This is the Classic Horror Experience,” he tells me, “which is essentially new original scores to classic horrors.

“It all started when I was doing a documentary about Bela Lugosi and it reminded me that the early films had no scores, so rather than use Bela’s Dracula theme, I had to come up with my own one.

“A lot of these films are still really charming, atmospheric and look great, but I saw the potential benefit of having a more contemporary score to go with them.”

The first of Jason’s scores was the John Barrymore version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde back in 2018, which he followed up with White Zombie in 2020.
Now he’s come up with something a little different for his latest horror score.

“The Evil Bat incorporates Vincent Price’s 1959 film The Bat,” Jason explains. “I then discovered it was based on a film back in 1926, which was itself re-made in 1930. It was that film, re-named The Bat Whispers which provided the inspiration for comic book writer Bob Kane to come up with the idea of Batman.”

Realising that all three films had their own strengths, Jason cut them together to make one super version with a brand new ending.

“The technical side of it all is actually quite simple,” he says, “the tricky bit is doing it in an artistic way which doesn’t ruin the story and makes sense to the audience.”

And then there’s the writing of the score, which I’m guessing is the really fun bit.

Jason smiles: “I compiled a long list of instruments to give it that 50’s sci-fi horror kind of feel. Things like the Clavioline, which is an early 50’s electronic keyboard, the forerunner for the analog synthesizer, and another electric organ, the Philicorda, which I found in an old charity shop in Hadleigh just as I was thinking about this score.

“I’m really pleased with the score and hope other people like it too. I think it goes pretty well with the newly edited film and I can’t wait to try it out on a live audience.”

The Evil Bat is at the Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday, October 30, with doors at 7pm and the first film starting at 7.30pm. For tickets call the box office on 01206 500900 or go on-line at

Jason’s The New Batman: Neil D’arcy-jones Meets Hollywood Composer And Horror Aficionado, Jason Frederick
Jason Frederick at the Colchester Arts Centre’s Classic Horror Nights