Company: Evil Angel Video.

Director: Scott Phillips, John Howard.

Cast: Belladonna, Tiffany Mynx, Taylor Rain, Roxy Jezel, Alicia Rhodes, Jayna Oso, Haley Paige, Mason Storm, Shayna Knight, Steve Hatcher, Brandon Iron, Evan Stone, Travis Knight, Tommy Gunn, Claudio Meloni.

Running Time: 140 min.

AAAA 1/2

The most distinctive release from Evil Angel since 2002's landmark film The Fashionistas, Tales From the Crack has got to be considered, at least to this reviewer's thinking, the odds-on fave to win AVN's Best Vignette Title this month.

With its old EC Comics-inspired vibe, killer female cast and searing sex, rougher and harder than the vast majority of the competition, Tales is just about everything a vignette title should be.

A real departure for Stagliano's company, it uses comic book pages to segue into the vignettes, frequently employs split screens to mimic the look of comic book panels, and is credited as being presented by Buttman Comics, a bound, hardcore volume of which was published a while back.

The direction is credited to first-time porno helmsmen John Howard - the creator of the wildly successful underground comic book Horny Biker Sluts - and Scott Phillips, a close writer pal. Those two did indeed direct the dialog sequences, but it was a trio of porn vets - second camera Johnni Darkko and the heads of Evil's DVD division, former performer Tricia Devereaux (Stagliano's wife) and David Crawford (both credited for 'Behind the scenes camera') - who more or less directed the sex.

And direct it well they did. While all five vignettes are wankable, three are savagely so. The opener, "The Vampire Hunter," smokes as title character Evan Stone exorcises Jayna Oso's and Haley's heinies (for more salacious details, see the on the set report in the July 2004 issue). It's nominated for Best Threeway. That's followed by possibly the nastiest naughty nurses scene ever shot, in which Alicia Rhodes, Mason Storm and Shayna Knight get one hell of an anal exam by "The Doctor," played by Claudio Meloni. It just blisters. As does the closer.

Bringing Horny Biker Sluts to the small screen, hardcore queen Belladonna, in leather chaps that bare her absolutely awesome ass, rides Travis Knight's tool (and his pool cue) in her Hershey Highway with an assist from Steve Hatcher. As she does just every time she goes before the camera, Belladonna radiates a pure porno decadence that few of her peers can touch. Hard to believe she's never won AVN's Female Performer of the Year award. Oh well, there's still time.

Marketing: With its eye-catching box, distinctive concept, awesome female cast, Evil Angel pedigree and yes, this Editor's Choice review, no way this can't be a monster mover. Stock deep.