Jason Frederick's Classic Horror Night, Colchester Arts Centre

ONE of the most wonderful things about the town's arts centre is they are not afraid to try something a little bit new.

Can you think of anywhere else that might run a night, the week before Christmas, that celebrates the music of classic horror films.

That's what audiences were treated to courtesy of Colchester's very own television and film composer Jason Frederick.

Jason is perhaps best known locally for his Mods and Coppers big band show, which mixes cool movie soundtracks from such films as Bullitt, Dirty Harry and Get Carter with a big band sound.

This new show is a very different affair, almost a type of lecture, except with music and scenes from some of the most bizarre films I've ever seen.

I've never heard of Dracula AD 1972 or Dr Phibes Rises Again before and yet after seeing little clips of them, I feel my life is just that little bit better for knowing they exist.

I suspect they're not supposed to be funny but hey this was the Seventies, even horror was hilarious back then and while I'm not rushing out to see if I can buy them on DVD, they were very entertaining indeed.

As well as the film clips, and Jason recreating part of the scores, the show includes some fascinating recorded interviews Jason has conducted with composers of horror music, including, Michael J Lewis (Theatre of Blood), and, rather bizarrely, Howard Blake of The Snowman fame, who did the music for one of the Amityville horror films.

But the best part of the whole night is Jason's infectious enthusiasm for a subject he is obviously very passionate as well as some very interesting insights that make movie music work the way it does.

Let's hope he'll be back next year. After all, nothing says Christmas like Dracula biting into a hippy.