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...


Walter Hill


Steven Dodd (creator), Walter Hill (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Sadler ... Niles Talbot (as Bill Sadler)
J.W. Smith J.W. Smith ... Charley Ledbetter
Roy Brocksmith ... Vic
David Wohl ... Warden Havers
Gerrit Graham ... Theodore Carne
Dani Minnick Dani Minnick ... Cynthia Baldwin
Tony Abatemarco ... Detective
Mimi Kennedy ... Distraught Woman
Robert Winley ... Jimmy Flood
Eve Brent ... Judge #1
Edgar Small Edgar Small ... Judge #2
Mark Lowenthal Mark Lowenthal ... District Attorney
F.J. O'Neil F.J. O'Neil ... Priest
Raymond O'Connor ... Jury Foreman (as Raymond O'Conner)
Jennifer Evans 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


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

10 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Walter Hill agreed to give William Sadler the lead only if he vowed to perform it exactly as he had for the audition. See more »


Niles Talbot: [talking about the electric chair] They say the electric current's so fast that the brain gets cooked just as soon as the switch is thrown... prisoner never feels a thing. Boy, I'd hate to think that was true.
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Tales from the Crypt Theme
Composed by Danny Elfman
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User Reviews

He's the judge, the jury, and above all else… The Executioner
16 September 2013 | by callanvassSee all my reviews

(Plot) The death penalty is suddenly abolished, and the means The Executioner, Niles Talbot (William Sadler) is out of a job. He decides to take matters into his own hands, and deliver his own brand of execution.

This is the very first episode of the classic series, Tales from the Crypt. I worshiped this show as a kid, and this is the first time I've revisited it in years. I'll be watching a lot of this show in days to come, so expect a lot of reviews. I immediately smiled when I saw the Cryptkeeper delivering his cheesy one-liners. It brought back such great memories. There was nothing outstanding about this episode, but it does provide the thrills that I was looking for. William Sadler is in virtually every scene almost, and he narrates the whole thing by talking to the viewers. I thought that was a really cool touch. He also had some great lines about death, which I won't spoil. It was just a really fun episode, and I give a lot of credit to William Sadler. He was a lot of fun, and rather bad ass at times. My only complaint is I felt they caught on too easy at the end. I realize you have time constraints, but it felt a little too easy for me. I would have liked a bit more development, but that's a minor carp.

Final Thoughts: This provides great entertainment for Horror fans, and it's a good starting point for this series. You'll have some laughs and some thrills. What more can you ask for?


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