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Sick, twisted: It's the Spike & Mike show

(ran TP edition)

Warning to those with a weak stomach: Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation may not be for you.

The festival's short films have some very clever animation, but the content is often disturbing and grotesque.

Spike and Mike are Craig "Spike" Decker and Mike Gribble. Gribble died in 1994, but Decker continues to produce touring theatrical festivals of animated short films. (Spike and Mike's films also are seen on IFILM.com.)

Each festival plays in cities across the United States and Canada, providing a stage for creators and their creations alike.

Spike and Mike produced the first two Beavis & Butt-head shorts long before the characters appeared on MTV. They also premiered "Spirit of Christmas," the original, uncensored South Park short by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit, Rugrats and Whoop Ass Stew by Craig McCracken (the first short film featuring the Powerpuff Girls) were also seen first at Spike and Mike festivals.

Here's a sample of what will be shown during this year's festival:

Stinky Monkey: An extremely precocious girl encounters an unsuspecting stinky monkey.

Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World: When Rick and Steve are approached by Dan and Kirsten to father their child, Steve gets jealous that they prefer's Rick's sperm and makes up his own plan.

Pussy Da Rednosed Reindeer by Walter Santucci: If Mafia gangsters from the Bronx were to tell Christmas stories to their kids, the favorite would be the story of Pussy Da Rednosed Reindeer.

Angry Kid: Long, boring car journeys and days off school sick watching daytime TV provide the backdrop for a series of mini-adventures.

Ghost of Stephen Foster: A 1930s Fleischer Bros. homage set to music by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Coco the Junkie Pimp 2: The jive-talking clown Coco is back on the attack, fresh off the junk and looking for the punk that stole his women.

The Hangnail: A story about a man, man's best friend and a small piece of skin that eventually tears them apart.

Sloaches Fun House: Described as "the most vile piece of clay animation ever molded."

Deep Sympathy: Necrophilia means never having to say you're sorry.

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