The question came up at a birthday party last night, "what's your favorite vampire movie." I've never spent any considerable amount of time considering my answer, but Dracula was the first film that popped into my head. Instead, for some unknown reason, I talked about how under-appreciated The Return of Dracula is (see it -- it's really good. Dracula terrorizes 1950's suburbia).

Why didn't I just say Dracula? I love Dracula. Maybe it's cooler to say Blade or The Lost Boys, but Tod Browning's Dracula is THE vampire movie. If you disagree, tell me if the costume aisle during Halloween has generic Keifer Sutherlands or generic Bela Lugosis on display year-after-year. There's a creepy old castle, wispy vampire brides, decrepit crypts, and an iconic, commanding performance from Bela Lugosi -- all of the things we've taken for granted by decades filled with copycats.

For this week's Horror Squad Movie Club, we're going all the way back to 1931, and the vampire movie that set the standard for every vampire move to follow -- Dracula. You can watch it now on Netflix Instant, and we'll be back on Monday with a raging, blood-soaked discussion post. Watch it with fresh eyes, and remember that the cliches of the vampire genre weren't always cliches.