As he wrested power for himself, Vlad Dracula became notorious for his cruelty and inhumanity. His favorite method of punishment was impaling captives on wooden stakes. Sometimes he had tens of thousands impaled at the same time.
German manuscripts, published soon after Dracula’s death, refer to him as Vlad Tepes (pronounced Tse-pesh). Translated from Romanian, the name means Vlad the Impaler. Explicit pictures from those German manuscripts help modern-day viewers to easily understand where legend and fact meet.
It wasn’t just the horrible cruelty of Vlad Tepes that made him such an intriguing character for Bram Stoker, whose novel (dramatized for the radio by Orson Welles) continues to make Dracula a famous legend in the modern world. It was also the settings, of the real tale, which were so compelling for storytellers.
The castle in which Dracula lived, the Transylvanian countryside, his castle fortress, the Carpathian mountains, the centuries of Romanian folklore, the Russian and German manuscripts, plus ... Dracula’s empty grave on Snagov Island ... all contribute to the make-up of great tales.
He called his 1922 silent movie Nosferatu (the Romanian word for vampire).