The highlight of the 1998 Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation was not any animated character or film, but Bug "the Bugmeister" shredding balloons to bits (only at the Palace of Fine Arts). It made me wonder what they had done to the dog to make it behave like that, and while he was cute and amusing, I still couldn't help think of the objectification that was occuring.
But that's the whole point of the films showcased in the festival: to objectify someone or something to a point where it's funny. And it worked sometimes; this year, the better films of the festival were No Neck Joe, The Secrets of Flirting, Boris the Dog, How to use a Tampon, and uncensored South Park episodes Frosty and The Spirit of Christmas.
No Neck Joe was actually a series of shorts, some of which were very good (especially the one where Joe gets to use his tongue) and some of which were mediocre. The Secrets of Flirting borrowed a bit from Pink Floyd (the animated sequence in The Wall metaphorising a hungry vagina) and also had its moments. Boris the Dog was particularly excellent because of its use of visual imagery, the funny sequence involving repeated firing of a shotgun, and the cynical ending. How to use a Tampon had a great concept and thus ranks as one of the better films, but I think the execution could've been better.
While there wasn't anything I would say was terrible, there were a lot of films that didn't do much for me. These included Sick and Twisted Special Games (a few chuckles), Beyond Grandma (a couple of chuckles), Coco the Junkie Pimp (a chuckle), Monica Banana (more political commentary/satire than sick and twisted), Animalistic Times (explicit, but not that funny), Karate Dick Boys (is funny only from the perspective of a video game satire), How to Get Pronged, Stupid for Love, Floss, and Below the Belt.
The non-premiere films also generally stood out for good reason---they probably went through a survival of the fittest selection process. Among these, Devil Went down to Georgia was the best animated film (animated by professionals, mind you, by the same people who did The Nightmare before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach) with the best music (featuring members of Primus). Ah, L'Amour was also amusing (though borrowing a bit from The Simpsons' Itchy and Scratchy style of slashing).
I didn't think there was anything in the festival that was really sick or twisted (changing the way you think you about cartoons or films, like the way There's Something About Mary does). Sometimes the humour was good and sometimes it wasn't. But the parts that are funny make it definitely worth checking out.
I saw Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation in 2003 after a five-year hiatus. Not a lot has changed. Classic staples such as No Neck Joe are still present, but there are some new additions. Cooler shorts include 1300cc, where a biker follows a granny; The Three Pigs, who are exploring their tendencies; Coco the Junkie Pimp 3: Revenge of the Junkie, which is basely hilarious; The Inbreds, which shows both sophistication and low-brow humour at its best and worst at the same time; and Roofsex which will make you see your furniture in a new light.
The selection of animation is more sick and more twisted than ever. Be sure to check it out, even if you have done so before.