The Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted Animation Festival grew out of an animation festival run by Craig ‘Spike’ Decker and Mike Gribble, which started in California in 1977. The “twisted” side started in 1990 with a screening of the adult content animations in the Wheeler Auditorium at UC Berkeley, and grew from there to such an extent that by the start of the new millennium, the original festival was phased out entirely. In the early days, Spike and Mike – sometimes along with their Scottie dog – would act as “ring-masters” for the show, and would also tour with the films round rep cinemas.
Many notable animators shown at these events would go on to greater fame, notably Bill Plympton and Mike Judge, as well as Trey Parker + Matt Stone. Although Mike died of cancer in 1994, Spike continued with the festival, which lives on to this day [though according to the website, the latest version “contains less monocle-spinning gross-out gags than S&T, and rather focuses on the flat-out best and funniest animated shorts that the world has to offer.”
To some extent, the purpose of the event has been removed, as the Internet now makes it a lot easier for aspiring animators to get their work out there. But after the jump, you’ll see reviews of the four festivals we attended in Arizona, from 1998-2004.