T. Ott plunges into the darkness with five graphic horror novelettes: "The Hotel," "The Champion," "The Experiment," "The Prophet," and the story which frames it all, "The Girl," each executed in his hallucinatory and hyper-detailed scratchboard style.
The first story in the book introduces the other four: A little girl visits an amusement park. She looks fascinated, but finds everything too expensive. Finally, behind the rollercoaster she eyeballs a small booth with "CINEMA PANOPTICUM" written on it. Inside there are boxes with screens. Every box contains a movie; the title of each appears on each screen. Each costs only one coin, so the price is right for the little girl. She puts her money in the first box: "The Hotel" begins. In the film, a traveler goes to sleep in what seems to be an otherwise empty hotel. His awakening is the stuff of nightmares.
"The Champion," the second film, introduces a Mexican wrestler who fights against death himself. In a typical Ott twist, he wins and loses at the same time. In the third film, "The Experiment," a short-sighted man initially goes blind from some pills his doctor gave him, but soon the blindness wears off and he finds they accord quite a view. In the final story, "The Prophet," a vagrant foresees the end of the world and tries to warn people, but nobody believes him. They will soon enough...
Ott’s O. Henry-esque plot twists will delight fans of classic horror like The Twilight Zone and Tales From the Crypt, or modern efforts like M. Night Shyamalan’s films (well, the good ones); his artwork will haunt you long after you’ve put the book down.
"Swiss cartoonist Ott employs neither dialogue nor captions in his stories; words appear rarely, usually as chapter titles or signs in the background. Appropriately, Ott uses the early silent cinema as a motif... In keeping with the silent movie motif, Ott uses black, white and grays, enveloping his realistically drawn characters and settings in an expressionistic mood. The characters initially display understated emotions, and their situations seem familiar. Ott’s storytelling moves at a slow but steady pace, making his protagonists’ extreme reactions more believable when they, and the readers, are caught in Ott’s imaginatively conceived, masterfully executed traps." – Publishers Weekly
"The wordless noir morality plays are both meticulous and unnerving." – The Times (London)
"Comics don’t come much cooler than the heavily stylish, moody stories-with-a-twist created by Thomas Ott. – The Comics Reporter