Tales from the Crypt (1996)

Season 1 Episode 1

The Man Who Was Death

Aired Unknown Jun 10, 1989 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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out of 10
171 votes
  • This had a really cool story and I really liked how it was told. However the acting and music were awful.

    What warrants the score

    Tales from the Crypt is what it is, this is the first episode I have seen and it has left me thinking the series wont be too in-depth which isn't a bad thing necessarily.

    The story was pretty awesome and interesting. Of course it wasn't believable at all, not that it was meant to be.

    I personally thought the music was horrible.

    I also thought the acting was atrocious.

    Lighting was done very well, I thought the camera work was great.


    This had a really cool story and I really liked how it was told. However the acting and music were awful. This is the first episode of the series and also the first that I have watched. It was good but not great, good enough to keep me wanting to see more episodes though.
  • Buen Comienzo De La Serie

    La serie tubo un comienzo mas que aceptable con este capitulo, la historia esta bastante bien narrada con un excelente guion, este episodio tiene mas una historia algo psycho killer en menor escala con una pisca de thriller, en definitiva no es de terror pero es muy disfrutable el episodio, sobre todo por las actuaciones, muy buenas.

    Al principio del episodio la trama se ve algo lenta y en algunos casos te podes perder, pero despues de la mitdad del episodio la historia se pone mucho mas interesante, y nos deja a un personaje muy bueno.

    A destacar: el guion la verdad puede llegar a ser el mejor de toda la primera temporada
  • This is one of the best performance's of William Sadler's Career.

    Although this isn't one of the scariest episodes of the series, but it is one of the best done, I mean look who the director was,Walter Hill, the man responsible for Alien, The Warriors,and 48 Hrs.

    William Sadler (Credited here as Bill Sadler) is best known now for his role in The Shawshank Redemption, but this is one of the best performances of Sadler's career next to his role as Death in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, his next Tales episode ,and his leading role in the first Tales movie Demon Knight.

    Although he's only in the episode for a few scenes, Roy Brocksmith gives a good performance as Vic the Bartender, in this, his first of three Tales episodes.

    and finally although he dies in the story, veteran actor Gerrit Graham gives a memorable appearence as Walter Carne, equal only to his performance in Phantom of the Paradise.
  • A man is out of the job when the death penalty is abolished. He decides, however, that justice must be served...

    This is by far the strongest episode of Season 1 for "Tales from the Crypt." It also happens to be the season opener, and sets the mood for the entire show. Told from the POV of the protagonist, this episode relies heavily on superb acting, which is exactly what Bill Sadler delivers to us. Had it not been for the director's suggestion, this episode could have gone in another direction completely. I think the strong point of this episode, however, is the script. We, as the audience, are able to get inside of the mind of a prison's executioner, which could have ended badly, had it not been for the fabulous writers. All in all, this is not only the strongest episode of the season, but one of the strongest episodes overall.
  • A man out of a job goes on his own killing spree and punishes those who break the law and get off free

    This is the perfect episode to start a horror series with. It's not that it is really scary, per se, but extremely interesting. What's not to like about a guy going around dishing out his own justice to the people who thinks deserves it? In a way, he's kind of like a superhero without the costume. William Sadler is excellent as the main character in the story and the way he kills off people is really fun to watch. I have always loved this episode and it probably ranks in my top 10 favorite Tales from the Crypt episodes. A must see!
  • Interesting Little Episode. (Spoilers)

    This episode caught me by surprise. I had previously read the comic that it is based off of, and thought it was a good adaption. The episode left one death out, however: A man is somehow electrified in his shower. Also the ending is somewhat changed from its original, with the original being outside and a bolt of electricity giving the killers position away. In the television version it is not told how the police find the killer. They just do! I suppose the police officer was psychic. Summary: This episode was good but had some plot holes and some unexplained moments. On the nudity scale I'd give it 3 out of five,

    Violence Scale I'd give it 2 out of 5, because its not that bad
  • An executioner is put out a job after the death penalty is abolished. So he takes things into his own hands.

    Personally, I don't really have a problem with this episode. Other than the fact that it is dreadfully over-rated, my biggest problem with it was how unsurprising it is. I will admit there are some really good deaths in it, like the one with the hot tub, I thought that was classic, and there were a few good quotes in it two, such as when he talks a bout the junkies. One part confused me though, I don't understand why he went to murder the stripper, she didn't kill anyone. Well anyways, despite many peoples love for this episode I can really only call it average.
  • William Sandler plays an executioner who gets laid off because the state has done away with the death penalty. So he goes around "free-lance" killing those who do wrong. Unfortunately for him, things turn exteremly ironic.

    Niles Talbot (William Sandler) is an excutioner for a prison. He really enjoys his work but perhaps a little too much. One day, he is laid off because the state has done away with the death penalty; therefore, his job is no longer required. Angry and out on his luck, Niles goes around killing people who have done wrong. He shows up at their trials and if they are found innocent, he electricutes them himself! Niles is caught one night at a strip club about to electricute a stripper, and the police arrest him for the previous murders. Fate has a crazy,ironic twist! The state has just recently re-instated the death penalty. What a shock, eh? Especially to Niles who ends up receiving the "full effects!"
  • Good, but not best.

    I liked this episode. a electrocutioner takes other\'s crimes in his own hands when the death penalty is abolished. It is one of my favorites from Season one because it has one of those good endings. The ending was not what I expected to happen, but it did have a good twist to it. I think the acting was pretty good too. This is an episode I watch more then once. I can only watch a couple over and over, and this is one of them. This is okay, and although not my favorite, a good epoisode from Season One.
  • Breaking The Fourth Wall made this one work.

    The first episode in the Tales From The Crypt series and still one of the better ones in terms of directing and acting. William Sadler delivers the goods as Niles Talbot, once his state\\\'s top executioner but put out of work due to a legislation passing decides to off criminals on his own by eletrocution. Besides the standout performance of Sadler, this one excels because of narration and the breaking of the fourth wall by Sadler ala Ferris Bueller or Zach Morris. I loved the crypts where they used narration, it also works well in season three\\\'s, Split Second. Sadler plays this role with passion and takes himself seriously even when breaking the fourth wall as mentioned. While not as comical or filled with tongue in cheek humor as the later episodes this one is semi serious but not all serious and has that Walter Hill tough guy street feel to it and really had nothing to fall back on and had to set the bar for the others to follow and it has in my opinion stayed one of the top ten episodes in the series. Another thing of note is that this being his first screen appearance, The Cryptkeeper is a bit laid back here (as well as the next few episodes) and not as excitible or jokey as he would become, definately more creepier than funny but his puns were there from the start and his speech is drooled out rather than cacky and loud. Sadler would become somewhat of a Crypt mainstay as he would again appear in the episode, The Assassin and the first two Crypt feature films, Demon Knight and Bordello Of Blood. This is also the first of Three Crypt episodes by the late-great character actor, Roy Brocksmith.
  • Bill Sadler knew what he was doing!

    Bill Sadler, the star of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knights, plays Niles Talbot, an out of work exocutioner. When the death penalty is taken away, he starts killing guilty people on his own, by electrocution. He is really good, and even though the plot isn't that great, the performances are excellent!