Based on the story “24 Hours.”

Fan films aren’t typically something I feature in this column, not because I have something against them, I don’t, they’re just a very specific subset of short films perhaps better served with its own column. Occasionally, though, I come across a fan film of such staggering quality, both technically and narratively, that I have to bend the rules a little bit. Such is the case today, and the film in question is called Sandman: 24 Hour Diner, and yes, it is a live-action film based on a story from the famous and beloved comic series created by Neil Gaiman in which a violent psychotic escapes from Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum and flexes his crazy-muscles on six hapless patrons of an all-night diner.

I’ve read the story this film is based on, “24 Hours” from Sandman #6 (1989), and therefore can personally attest that creators Evan Henderson and Nicholas Brown have nailed the tone, atmosphere, and emotional space of the narrative, and bring it to life with frightening legitimacy.

A couple caveats: first, this film, of course, is not associated with Gaiman or the Sandman publishers, DC imprint Vertigo Comics. That said, though, Gaiman gave 24 Hour Diner a shout-out online, so he’s obviously more than cool with it. Secondly, this flick contains violence, gore, nudity, adult language and situations, so is NSFW “in the best way possible,” the creators assure us.

Hollywood has been dickering over the notion of a Sandman feature for decades now. Last we heard, the project was hovering over Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but there hasn’t been any concrete news on that front in a year. But while Hollywood is busy dropping the ball, independent filmmakers like Henderson and Brown are there to pick it up and run it into the endzone. This might not be canon, but it’s still spectacular.