With less than a week until the opening of Sin City, the anticipation is through the roof. "Sin City" is the title that Miller gave his cult comic-book series of the early 1990s, the tawdry, salacious depiction of which will spill onto the big screen next Friday in a film he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez. Based on the series of graphic novels created, written, and illustrated by Miller, Sin City is infested with criminals, crooked cops and sexy dames, some searching for vengeance, some for redemption and others, both. The movie incorporates storylines from three of Miller's graphic novels including 'Sin City,' which launched the long-running, critically acclaimed series, as well as 'That Yellow Bastard' and 'The Big Fat Kill.'

In Miller's Sin City, even the good guys are hard-drinking brutes with a barely restrained lust for the kill. The femmes fatales wield cigarettes like weapons, have legs up to there and breasts straight out of a teenage boy's fevered dream. The prostitutes are armed and dangerous, and they police the red-light district themselves - no cops allowed. Corrupt politicians are in cahoots with the church (jointly harboring pedophiles and serial killers); the town's sleazy bars are just brawls waiting to happen. In other words, "Sin City" takes the tropes of pulp fiction and film noir, crosses them with the outsized surrealism of the comics, and spikes it all with a toxic dose of horror-movie violence and sadomasochistic kink. It ain't pretty. But if you don't have the stomach for it, then stay the hell out.

Miramax, which produced the $40 million flick, is betting audiences will clamor to get in: "Sin City" is one of the most aggressively promoted movies of the spring, with an all-star cast that includes Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, Benicio Del Toro and Nick Stahl. As helmed by Rodriguez ("El Mariachi," "Spy Kids") and Miller (on his first foray into film directing), it might well rank as the most faithful comic book adaptation ever: The actors were shot against green screen and the backdrops created digitally, often matching up panel for panel with the original comic - all in an effort to reproduce Miller's distinctive chiaroscuro lighting and skewed perspectives.

"Nobody's ever come this close to being this faithful," says the newly minted director by telephone two weeks before the "Sin City" opening. Miller, who also wrote the classics "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and "Ronin," should know: Both "Daredevil" and "Elektra," recent movies based on two other Miller tales, sorely lacked the visual style and zest of the originals. And his last tour of duty in Hollywood - writing the screenplay for "RoboCop 2" - found the fiercely independent Miller at odds with the studio. So when Rodriguez first approached him about the possibility of adapting "Sin City," Miller had a one-word answer: No.

"I took an instant liking to Robert," Miller says, "but I turned him down. I just couldn't see it being done. I was afraid the endings would be changed and the whole thing made much nicer. It'd be shown to focus groups who'd say it was too violent." It wasn't until Rodriguez invited Miller down to his Texas studio to film a test scene (at the director's own expense) that he clinched the deal. As Miller recalls it, he arrived in Austin to find actors Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton already on the set. Quentin Tarantino showed up to "guest direct" one memorable scene: a surreal conversation between Dwight (Owen) and Jackie Boy (Del Toro) - the latter happens to be dead, incidentally - as they speed down a rain-slicked highway.

Here's a list of Miller must-haves:

Sin City (Dark Horse) The seven volumes of Frank Miller's noir-inspired tale of crime and redemption in the nightmarish title city: "The Hard Goodbye" ($17), "A Dame to Kill For" ($17), "The Big Fat Kill" ($17), "That Yellow Bastard" ($19), "Family Values" ($12), "Booze, Broads & Bullets" ($15) and "Hell and Back" ($28).

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC, $14.95) The story credited with inspiring the "Batman" movies of the late 1980s and the 1990s, "Dark Knight" brings Batman out of retirement, pairs him with a female Robin and pits him against an old ally - Superman. Illustrated with Klaus Janson.

Daredevil/Elektra: Love & War (Marvel, $29.99) Two beloved comic book characters forever associated with Miller: Daredevil, the blind superhero, and Elektra, the coed-turned-ninja assassin. Illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Ronin (DC, $19.95). A 13th century samurai warrior whose master has been killed finds himself reincarnated in 21st century New York and seeks revenge against the ancient demon that dishonored him.

Hard Boiled (Dark Horse, $16.95) A suburban tax collector and family man is actually a homicidal android in this ultraviolent "Blade Runner"-ish tale illustrated by Geoff Darrow.

300 (Dark Horse, $30) The true historical story of a small force of 300 Spartan warriors who withstood the invading Persian armies at Thermopylae in 480 BC. With Miller's wife, Lynn Varley, as colorist.

Sin City opens Friday, April 1st. For more info, check out CBR's interview with the actors & their review of the movie. Also, check out the official site & trailer. Enjoy!