Welcome to the fright of the century – The Grim Reaper v The Crypt Keeper.
It’s not at all unusual for writers and directors to forge long creative bonds with certain actors. Scorsese and De Niro… Hitchcock and James Stewart… Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson.
At Tales From The Crypt, we fell in love with a few actors ourselves and worked with them repeatedly. William Sadler arrived at Crypt before we did; he’s in one of the three brilliant episodes that launched the whole series on HBO. They’re the episodes that caused HBO to proclaim it was no longer TV, it was “HBO”!
The Man Who Was Death
In “The Man Who Was Death”, Bill played Niles Talbot, a state executioner who, frankly, loves his job. He loves delivering justice – and proudly stares the people he’s about to kill right in the eye. They’re getting what’s coming to them.
But then, the state where Niles works outlaws capital punishment – putting poor Niles out of a job. Niles continues his work nonetheless – delivering justice regardless of the fact he no longer has the right to. It’s not his job anymore. Just as the law finally catches up with Niles, the state reinstates the death penalty – and Niles will be the first person to sit in the revamped electric chair.
As the Crypt Keeper would say, “Talk about a re-volting development!”
Bill’s awesome in the role. Hey, his work – in part – helped launch one of the most successful TV anthology franchises ever!
What Better Foil?
We loved Bill so much at Crypt that we hired him twice to work with the Crypt Keeper! The first time, Bill played the Grim Reaper character he’d created for the “Bill And Ted” movies. What better foil for the Crypt Keeper?
In our chat with Bill, we go back to Bill’s acting roots and his whole philosophy of acting. We talk Shawshank Redemption (and how that project came about). And, of course, we talk about The Grim Reaper and how Bill took some pretty bold chances to score that iconic role.
We also talk about Mr. Rush – a very cool, overly-caffeinated character we created with Bill for an anthology series that never went anywhere – though we had a blast making the wraparound together. We’ve got plenty of Mr. Rush samples for you!
Who wins this battle between The Grim Reaper and The Crypt Keeper? Why, you do of course!
Here are some cool links for Bill. First, here’s the Colorado Shakespeare Festival Hamlet 1973 Page:
And here’s a link to Bill’s new CD at Bandcamp. It’s really terrific! Give it a listen. Better yet – buy a digital copy. All the proceeds go to charity.