Count Dracula is a famous vampire who first appeared as the titular main antagonist in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. He is centuries old and unlike most Eastern European vampires, who are corpse-like in appearance, Dracula is handsome, charming, and aristocratic.
In Stoker's Novel
A lawyer named Jonathan Harker has travelled from England to Dracula's crumbling castle to supervise his purchase of Carfax Abbey in London. Harker soon finds himself imprisoned in the castle, and notices something strange about Dracula and how he loves the dark and hates the light. When Harker tries to leave the castle, the Brides of Dracula cast a spell on him and try to devour him, but Dracula stops them, because he wants Harker alive so he can obtain legal advice. (Harker manages to escape later on.) Dracula also makes Harker's predecessor, Thomas Renfield, into his slave, promising him immortality in return for helping him find and kill victims.
Dracula becomes obsessed with Harker's fiancee, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, and her friend Lucy Westenra. When Dracula begins feeding on Lucy, causing her to become deathly ill, her fiance Dr. Jack Seward calls in his mentor, Abraham Von Helsing, for help. Van Helsing determines her condition but refuses to disclose it. Soon after, Lucy and her mother are attacked by a wolf. Lucy's mother dies, and Lucy appears to die as well and is buried. However, she comes back as a vampire and starts stalking children, so Van Helsing stakes her, decapitates her, and fills her mouth with garlic, killing her.
Upon learning of this, Dracula takes revenge by feeding on Mina three times, and feeds her his blood as well, slowly turning her into a vampire under his control. To undo the curse, Dracula must be killed. The Count flees to his castle and conseals himself in a box that is to be transported. Van Helsing kills his brides and the group attack Dracula, and Van Helsing slashes Dracula with a Kukri and a wounded Quincey finishes Dracula off by stabbing him with a knife. Dracula crumbles to dust, and Mina is freed from the curse.
Film and TV appearances
Dracula has been portrayed by several actors in film and television, including:
- The late Bela Lugosi in arguably the character's most famous interpretation, the 1931 horror film Dracula
- The late Christopher Lee - who also portrayed Saruman in the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies and Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel films - in Hammer Studios' Dracula film series
- The late Frank Langella in the 1977 film adaptation of Dracula
- Gary Oldman - who also portrayed Mason Verger in Hannibal, Egor Korshunov in Air Force One, and Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - in Bram Stoker's Dracula
- The late Leslie Nielsen in Dracula: Dead and Loving It