WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Comic book creators Ezra and Todd have a critical and commercial hit on their hands in the form of "Slasherman," their first creator-owned horror series. The two embark on a signing tour to promote the book, launching a contest for readers to create their very own "Slasherman" scene.
Over the course of their trip, it becomes increasingly clear that "Slasherman" has inspired a wave of violence, one that reaches all the way to Ezra and Todd's doorsteps.
WHY IT WORKS: From start to finish, Palmiotti and Gray's "Random Acts of Violence" is a brilliantly crafted tale of horror that leaves the reader feeling thoroughly disturbed — exactly the way a horror story should. With compelling characters, realistic dialogue, shocking twists and copious amounts of gore, "Random Acts" is a great ride for any horror fan. While some have argued that the film industry is over-saturated with comic book adaptations at the moment, "Random Acts" is an interesting case in that it deals with the dangers of fiction and what these stories can inspire in their readers. For my money, "Random Acts" seems like an interesting work to put in the public conversation at this point in time.
WHY IT DOESN'T: Mainstream moviegoers have had some difficulty embracing R-rated comic book fare. "Watchmen," though mostly well-received, performed poorly at the box office, just as "Kick-Ass" failed to achieve the type of success many expected it to. "Random Acts" could meet a similar fate, if only because the hard-R nature of this story absolutely cannot be toned down without completely gutting the message. That said, "Wanted" maintained an R-rating and managed to do tremendously well at the box office. Given that, "Random Acts" could go in either direction.
HOW TO DO IT: Because it wouldn't require splashy special effects or even big name actors, a "Random Acts" adaptation would work best as a low-budget horror film along the lines of "Saw." Put the project in the hands of an up-and-coming filmmaker (Jason Eisener of "Hobo With a Shotgun" comes to mind) and "Random Acts" could find itself an instant favorite amongst horror fans — something that's more than fitting given the Slasherman character's own cult status.
FINAL WORD: There's more than enough blood, guts and gore in "Random Acts of Violence" to excite any hardcore horror fan, but at its core, this is a story about hijacking creations and twisting them into your own vision. "Random Acts" is filled with interesting, thoughtful ideas that many readers would benefit from pondering — and it certainly doesn't hurt that these ideas come wrapped in a blood-soaked package.