Tales from the Crypt (1989–1996)
14 user 5 critic

The Man Who Was Death 

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



(screenplay), (screenplay)


See all




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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

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 »


Niles Talbot: It's all a big food chain, we eat shit and shit eats us.
See more »


Tales from the Crypt Theme
Composed by Danny Elfman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A shocking start to a shocking show.
22 May 2011 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

Tales From The Crypt was a fantastic, gloriously over the top interpretation of tales cribbed from the much-loved E.C. Comics of old. Hosted by the cackling, pun-making Crypt Keeper (voiced by John Kassir) it was full of blood, profanity and nudity whenever possible and often nasty in all the best ways.

Having said that, this very first episode (directed and co-written by Walter Hill) may seem a little tame compared to what the show would go on to offer fans but it's a wonderful, macabre start to proceedings that zips by thanks to a fun storyline and a great central turn from William Sadler.

Sadler plays an executioner who just doesn't know what to do with himself when the death penalty is abolished and he finds his particular services no longer needed. But justice still needs to be served.

A typical mix of horror and humour, this is a perfect opening entry for a series that would continually tread a very thin line between the tasteless and the deliciously dark.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Every Halloween HBO.... SonnybytheSea
Explicit sex scenes - which episodes? pilarp-1
'Til Death glangendoen
Region 2 DVD BladeRunner2015
Discuss The Man Who Was Death (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: