Count Dracula is the ghost of a Transylvanian count who turned himself into a vampire before his mortal death. Eventually his material vampire form was killed and his ghost retired to the Haunted Mansion. His painting portrays him as a pale man with dark slicked back hair and rodent-like facial features. He wears a long black robe and holds a lantern in front of a stone chamber which contains his black coffin and a lit candle.
Count Dracula is a famous literary villain from Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the novel, Dracula is said to be a centuries old vampire descended from Attila the Hun who is skilled in black magic who preys on the people of the villages below his home in the Carpathian mountains. By the end of the novel, Dracula kidnaps a British woman named Mina Harker and infects her with the vampire curse to become his newest vampiric bride (at the time he had already had 3, and in some interpretations he wanted Mina as she was a reincarnation of his original wife Elisabetta who's death had motivated him to become a vampire). However, Dracula's castle came under siege by Mina's former fiancée John Harker and his associate Dr. Abraham Van Helsing who killed Dracula by slitting his throat with a silver blade.
It is also commonly believed that the character of Dracula was once the historic warlord prince Vladislav III Tepes of Wallachia aka. Vlad the Impaler. This is because during his lifetime Vlad the Impaler was known as "Dracula" which meant "Son of Dracul/The Dragon" due to his father Vladislav II having been known as Dracul as he ran The Order of the Dragon. Vlad the Impaler is infamous in history due to his habit of killing enemies by having them impaled on large spikes sticking out from the ground and some historians suggest that he used the blood which dripped down from the spikes to wash his hands before a feast.
In the rides
Much like the other Sinister 11 portraits, Dracula's portrait features the "staring-eyes" effect which was accomplished by painting pupils on ping-pong balls cut in half. The eyes were cut out and the balls were set behind the portrait and lit, giving guests the impression that they are moving.
In the Florida version, this portrait was moved from the corridor to the loading area, where its eyes no longer glow and follow guests. The portrait remains in its original location in the Tokyo Mansion.
In the unnoficial Ghost Gallery storyline he was implied to have been a mortal English man named Nicholas Crown who was the secret lover of Little Leota. Nicholas convinced his lover's fiancee Jamie (who would later become the Coffin Occupant) that he was in fact a vampire and he than proceeded to bite his neck as to convince Jamie that he was now a vampire as well. Jamie then willingly hid from the sunlight inside of a coffin which his fiancee then nailed him alive inside so that she could be with Nicholas.
Tales from the Haunted Mansion
The Count appears in the second volume of Tales from the Haunted Mansion Midnight at Madame Leota's, in the story "Blood Relatives". Here, he isn't Count Dracula, but a vampire called Count Lupescu from Romania. He laid dormant for five hundred years until being awoken by his descendant, Ernie Looper, when he bleeds on his bones. When he woke up, he fed on people in his towns, not out of maliciousness but out of necessity. He resented his vampirism, seeing it as a curse and asking Ernie to kill him. Instead, Ernie brought him to the Haunted Mansion, where he could live without hurting anyone else.
Amicus Arcane and William, the main character, come across his portrait, when he tells him his story. He still resides in the mansion, but can't come inside. He can transform into both a bat and a wolf, and the mansion has a strict 'no pets' policy. He lives in the graveyard and howls at the moon.
- Dracula's visual appearance seems to be a hybrid of the Bela Lugosi incarnation of the character from the 1931 Dracula film, and Max Schreck's portrayal of Count Orlok from the 1922 film Nosferatu which was based on Bram Stoker's Dracula. The Haunted Mansion's Count Dracula combines Lugosi's civilized gentleman aesthetic and wardrobe with Schreck's off-putting rodential features. In the updated portrait, it has been put forth that he somewhat resembles the Christopher Lee, Hammer Horror incarnation of the character with his emphasized greying widow's peak and black draping coat. This all makes the Haunted Mansion Dracula one roughly anachronistic to specific adaptations and portrayals of the character.
- Concept art shows that Tokyo Disneyland's version of the Mansion was going to include a "Burial Crypt of Famous Villains" where his tomb would be seen next to Nero, Jack the Ripper, Bluebeard, Medusa, and Attila's. In the end, this was decided against.
- Like the Witch of Walpurgis, the Ogre, and the arsonist he was originally going to be a changing portrait but instead he wound up as one of the Sinister 11.
- Along with being a famous Supernatural Fictional Figure (Similar to Medusa or the Flying Dutchman) it also very possible that he is also a historic figure (similar to Jack the Ripper or Great Caesar's Ghost) as in real life history Dracula was a 15th Century Wallachian Warlord named Prince Vladislav III Dracula or "Vlad the Impaler".
- While this was made clear in the original concept art, not all fans deduced that the vampire was none other than Dracula himself as shown by merchandise from the 1970's identified him as "Morris".
- There used to be a life-performed vampire character who appeared for special-appearances who was referred to as, Lord Ravenscroft as an allusion to singer Thurl Ravenscroft. This character would be removed and retrofitted into the Phantom of the Haunted Mansion.