Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation 2003 | Chicago Reader

Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation 2003

This touring festival of gross-out cartoons debuted in 1990 as an offshoot of Spike and Mike's Classic Festival of Animation, but since then its mission has been seriously eroded by shoddy Flash animation and the mainstream's growing tolerance of scatological humor. This year's lineup—dominated by Mondo Mini Shows' dully violent Happy Tree Friends vignettes—is particularly dire: even festival favorite Bill Plympton disappoints with a perfunctory series that was actually animated by someone else. The few standouts—like Karl Wills's Teach Me, a black-and-white cel animation of two frogs engaged in a succession of strange and joyless sexual couplings—prove that a genuinely dark view of the world trumps any quantity of blood and vomit. 84 min.

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