Netflix is climbing a tall mountain by adapting Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, one of the greatest comics of the past 50 years. And what makes it great? The sheer ambition is a big part of it. The Sandman is about Dream, one of several anthropomorphic beings known as the Endless, each of whom represent a different aspect of the human condition. Throughout his journeys, Dream will be imprisoned by occultists for decades, inspire William Shakespeare to write A Midsummer Night’s Dream, break up a serial killer convention, and much more.
The Sandman has a pretty fluid tone. Some stories are funny, some are thoughtful, some are epic. And although it’s not a horror story per se, The Sandman directly deals with dreams and nightmares, and some of them can be pretty hairy.
Remember that serial killer convention we mentioned? Well, the headliner is a nasty piece of work known as the Corinthian, a nightmare creature who escapes from the Dreaming — the realm overseen by Dream — when he’s imprisoned by those occultists. The Corinthian is a vicious being with mouths full of razor-sharp teeth where his eyes should be, and he knows how to use them. His story actually isn’t that heavy, but his existence alone is terrifying.
The Sandman story “24 Hours” will keep you up at night
But if we’re talking scary Sandman stories, there’s absolutely no beating “24 Hours,” which is set in an all-night diner visited by Doctor Destiny, a DC villain who’s gotten ahold of Dream’s magic ruby, which he can use to alter the fabric of dreams. He uses this power to control the patrons of the diner for a full day, making them confess their darkest secrets, indulge in their basest instincts, worship Doctor Destiny as a god, and finally murder each other in gruesome ways, all without any hope of escape. It’s widely considered one of the most terrifying comics ever written, and with good reason.
So The Sandman might not be designed to give you chills in the night, but there’s plenty between its pages that’ll make you shudder. And if the Netflix adaptation of “24 Hours” is half as scary as the comic, then fans will be having unquiet dreams for years to come!