'Vlad the Impaler was a genius'
--Crazed Norwegian Gunman Dude.
Additionally, James, the Russians made their share of fabrications about Vlad the Impaler, some of which are similar to stories about Ivan the Terrible. It wasn't just the West. He impaled Saxons, too.
Of course, who wouldn't want to spend their mornings eating breakfast and listening to the groans of the impaled
? (Link is to a depiction of a woodblock print that is NSFW)
Here's a paper on him
from the Romanian Student Association of Stanford University:
His foreign policy was dominated by the continuous struggle to fend off the unwelcome expansionist "attentions" of his powerful neighbours and suzerains, the Hungarian kingdom to whom the autonomous principality of Transylvania north of the Carpathians belonged and the redoubtable Ottoman empire on its way of acquiring superpower status after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. To this purpose he used subtle Byzantine-style diplomacy successively allying himself with one or the other in the hope of playing them against each other while preserving the independence and neutrality of his country. This diplomatic manoeuvering was at times complemented or supplanted by ferocious borderland raiding like the incursions carried out in 1459-1460 against the south Transylvanian territories inhabited by German settlers (Saxons) with whom he had a trade dispute: towns and villages were burned to the ground and all their inhabitants - men, women and children running perhaps into tens of thousands - were impaled or otherwise executed, earning Dracula the Saxons' undying hate with no minor consequences for his posterity. The Turks, Wallachia's main external threat, were by no means spared from his wrath: in the winter of 1462 a surprise raid along the southern bank of the Danube had the following results - in Dracula's own words -: "I have killed men and women, old and young...23,884 Turks and Bulgarians without counting those whom we burned alive in their homes or whose heads were not chopped off by our soldiers..."
Unfortunately for Dracula, the major consequence of his moral crusade for internal law and order and external independence based on the mass use of capital punishment - often accompanied by refined, Oriental-style tortures - was that in the end even his most loyal subjects, noblemen and commoners alike, grew tired of living continuously in fear for their lives and withdrew him their support in the confuse moments following the precipitated pullout of the Turkish army from Wallachia when their candidate and Dracula's younger brother Radu "the Handsome" made a successful bid for the throne. As for Dracula himself, he took refuge in Transylvania but instead of royal help for recapturing his throne what he got instead was near-instant arrest triggered by cleverly falsified letters - by his Saxon sworn ennemies - purporting betrayal of the king's cause by him. After years of detention in the royal castle of Visegrad - north of modern-day Budapest - and house arrest in this city, during which it was alleged that he married the king's sister (or close relative) and as a pre-condition had to abandon the Eastern-Orthodox faith and convert to Roman-Catholicism, he was reinstated in the royal favours and with Hungarian and Moldavian help he recaptured his throne in the autumn of 1476. But shortly afterwards he was assassinated in a forest near Bucharest and his body was supposedly buried inside the church of Snagov monastery; extensive archaeological investigations there around 1930 have failed to pinpoint the exact location of his grave.