Are you one of those people who thinks cartoons are dumb? When someone says animation, do you think singing crabs and midgets with pickaxes? Well, prepare to have all your preconceived notions about animation drawn and quartered, chopped into tiny pieces and then nuked on high for an hour and a half courtesy of Spike and Mike.

Yes. it is that time of year again, friends, when all the fiends and goons come out of the woodwork for the Spike & Mike Festival of Sick and Twisted Animation. This showcase of insanity has been going strong since 1990. Originally created by Craig “Spike” Decker and Mike Gribble, the festival showcases independent animated features from all over the world. Many foul-mouthed animated heroes, which are now staples of our pop culture, have their roots in the Festival of Sick and Twisted Animation. To name a few: “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “South Park” and “The Powerpuff Girls” all got their start thanks to Spike and Mike. Despite the death of Mike in 1994, the festival is still the premiere stage for original, uninhibited raunchy animators and their ideas.

By the time you read this, the Spike & Mike’s Festival of Sick and Twisted Animation will have already come and gone to Santa Barbara, but oh man was it good. On tap this year were over 25 new shorts. Among the cartoons were stand-outs such as “The Boy Who Could Smell The Future,” “Quack Off,” “Mule Dick,” “Proper Urinal Etiquette” and returning favorite “Here comes Dr. Tran.” There was even a cartoon from Don Hertzfeldt, an alumnus, whose cartoon was created right here at UCSB. Watching a person get their skin ripped off, having their bare muscles salted to which the person crumbles into nothing would not seem funny to some. On the other hand, when it is happy-go-lucky stick figure characters, for some reason it makes the laughter come roaring out. It is definitely a good thing that animation exists as an outlet for these gruesome tales and the people behind them.

This kind of comedy could only come from artists who truly have a strong understanding of comedy and animation. These criminals of morality definitely know what they are doing. Highly offensive, the shorts all exhibited sophisticated yet juvenile elements that made for some absolutely priceless laughs. As the name implies, the films were bloody, disgusting, demented works of animated bliss. Though you might have missed Santa Barbara’s showing, you can go online and find out where it is playing next, and even buy the past festivals on DVD. Judging by the crowd that was at the Arlington Theatre, the demand is extremely high. Viva Spike & Mike!