Sandman: 24 Hour Diner from Morpheus on Vimeo.

This independently-made, unlicensed adaptation of one issue of The Sandman has attracted a good deal of attention, and received praise from Neil Gaiman. Released earlier this summer, it gets a review here. WARNING: the film is NSFW, unsuitable for children, and not for all tastes.

Title: “24 Hour Diner”

Director: Nicholas Brown, Evan Henderson
Writer: Nicholas Brown, Evan Henderson
Adapted from The Sandman #6 by Neil Gaiman, et al.

Cast
Frances Townend as Bette Munroe
Neil Affleck as Marsh
Storie Serres as Judy
Kenton Blythe as Mark
Justyna Bochanysz as Kate
Doran Damon as Gary
Lily Johnson as Mary Gentian
Zach MacKendrick as Dr. Dee
David John Phillips as Narrator
Adam Stewart as Herschal
Michael Sutherland as Kid’s Show Host
Ben LeFevre as Sandman

Premise:

John Dee aka Dr. Destiny arrives in a small town with the Sandman’s stolen dreamstone and causes mayhem for his own entertainment.

High Points:

I give them credit for actually producing a viable, watchable adaptation of a Sandman issue, without shying from any of this story’s disturbing content.

Bette learns from her part-time lover what her son’s been up to, and she does not take the news very well.

Again: NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN AND NOT SAFE FOR FOR WORK or, if it is, I want to know where you work.

Low Point:

The pacing could be better. What works on page does not always translate onto film, and they might considered some judicious editing of the source material.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 Brown and Henderson have given us a strong, but very literal adapation of the source material, right down to the narration and subtitles.

Effects: 5/6 I have to give them an extra point for doing so well with effects, given the limited budget. The brief animated sequence also works fairly well. Dr. Dee’s make-up translates his appearance to film, but it still looks a little Halloween Haunted Attraction. Comic characters need tweaking in the living world.

Acting: 5/6 The casting is strong, and the actors capture the essence of these characters. Judy (Storie Serres) and Marsh (Neil Affleck) appear to have walked off the page.

Production: 5/6

Story: 4/6 The film faithfully adapts a story that isn’t entirely self-contained, and doesn’t come to a conclusion until the next issue.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 A Sandman film wouldn’t work, and we may never get a prestige television adaptation. Our best hope for Gaiman’s Sandman in another medium—and, you know, it works just fine as a graphic novel series—might be a series of adaptations by various fans with this level of dedication and at least this quality of production. It may seem far-fetched, but, as home-made effects and films get easier to do, I could see something like this happening.

In total, “25 Hour Diner” receives 30/42