Tales from the Crypt (1989–1996)
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The Man Who Was Death 

After the death penalty is abolished, an executioner continues his former job through freelancing...



(screenplay), (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Niles Talbot (as Bill Sadler)
J.W. Smith ...
Charley Ledbetter
Roy Brocksmith ...
Warden Havers
Theodore Carne
Dani Minnick ...
Cynthia Baldwin
Distraught Woman
Robert Winley ...
Jimmy Flood
Judge #1
Edgar Small ...
Judge #2
Mark Lowenthal ...
District Attorney
F.J. O'Neil ...
Jury Foreman (as Raymond O'Conner)
Jennifer Evans ...
Newscaster #1 (as M. Jennifer Evans)


After working for two years in the electric workshop of a penitentiary, the electrician Niles Talbot has been promoted to executioner, operating an electric chair, and he appreciates his job. When the death penalty is abolished in his state, Niles loses his job. But he decides to become a vigilante, punishing criminals that are released by justice system. Until the day that the death penalty is implemented again in the state. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 June 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Sadler initially auditioned for the role of the detective who arrests Niles Talbot but asked at his audition about auditioning to play Talbot. The casting director informed Sadler that they sought Christopher Walken or John Malkovich for the role. Nevertheless, Sadler was allowed to audition and was eventually cast as Talbot. See more »


Crypt Keeper: [Crypt Keeper sitting in an electric chair] God, what a revolting development. And what a switch for poor Talbot. It just goes to show what happens when you get too caught up in your work.
[Crypt Keeper pulls switch on electric chair and starts cackling as he's zapped]
Crypt Keeper: Don't worry though, I'm sure he never knew "watt" hit him hahahahahahahaha. So remember boys and girls, safety first
[turns electric chair on again and cackles more then goes into a coughing fit]
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Tales from the Crypt Theme
Composed by Danny Elfman
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User Reviews

Guess Who Won't Be Pulling' the Switch This Time
9 October 2008 | by (Iowa, United States) – See all my reviews

Tales from the Crypt, season one, begins with a bang...or a jolt,as it were.

The Man Who Was Death features William Sadler as Niles Talbot, a seasoned executioner who is out of a job when the death penalty is abolished. Angered that all the injustice in the city, Niles takes to the streets and begins to give criminal scum their just desserts...but will it ultimately be Niles who will be judged.

The episode is flawless, a masterpiece of anthology. In a rarity, the main character breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience the entire time. It also has a nice noir-feel to it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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