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Spike & Mike's Twisted
Unprotected (NR)

Rating: out of 5

Okay, now I am REALLY confused. All I can say is that one should never miss any Spike And Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival Of Animation, ever. Observe for yourself how I suffer as a result…

SHOUT! FACTORY’s new DVD release of Spike & Mike’s Twisted: Unprotected follows up the June release of a DVD, Spike & Mike’s Twisted: Full Frontal. Together, these two DVDs cover most, but not all, of the Spike & Mike’s 2002-2003 Sick And Twisted Festival Of Animation® that toured theaters. Both DVDs have cartoons that did not appear in the tour. What really amazes me is that our talented critic who reviewed the tour itself saw cartoons that aren’t listed as being in the tour. What is the moral of this story? Clearly, if you miss a chance to see any version of Spike & Mike, you might never catch up!

Somehow, this does not surprise me. Spike (Craig Decker) & Mike (Mike Gribble) have provided this unique venue for unconventional cartoons for more than 25 years. I’m especially impressed by the fact that Mike has been doing it from beyond the grave since 1994. However this collaboration works, the various Festivals have provided inspiration and exposure for countless filmmakers. I only hope that Mike can talk Kubrick out of “retirement.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Sick And Twisted Festivals (both of you), these are cartoons that surpass that label. On this DVD alone there are so many lewd sex acts and examples of necrophilia or bestial necrophilia, cannibalism, decapitation, and drug use that I lost count. Snacking on fresh brains seems to be an especially popular theme. But it’s all in good fun. I think. As Spike says, “Hi Kids…,” there is something inherently amusing about the idea of children watching these cartoons because none of the cartoons are appropriate for children. They are only for naughty adult children. “Doesn’t it get tiring?” you ask. It sure does, but the gems still sparkle. I’ve found that people’s favorites are always surprisingly and unpredictably different.

Here are my favorites:

Maakies, Tony Millionaire: For my money these outshine all the other cartoons. Barely over a minute each, only two on this particular DVD, I would buy this DVD just for these cartoons. These are more mentally sick and twisted than they are graphic or vulgar.

Fast Driver, Nick Gibbons: An awful parody of the old Japanese animated series, “Speed Racer.” The dialogue is hilarious and they did slip in one or two subtle visual jokes as well.

Gack Gack, Hochschule fur Film und Fernsehen “Konrad Wolf”: Definitely German. Visually inventive and with remarkable vocalizations, the best I’ve heard in a long time.

Hangnail, Shane Acker: “Ren & Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi has done this single joke before, but never better than Acker does in this short.

Heavy, Kellie McGregor. This one is a bit long and slow, but an innovation on a very old story that is worth noting. (Both of these cartoons represent UCLA. Maybe I should have studied film at UCLA instead of the University of Texas?)

Bonus Material, Spike Live!: This will give you an idea of what you’re missing in the live screenings of these cartoons in a theater. This man knows how to please his audience.

In conclusion, this DVD is sicker and slightly more twisted than the other DVD, but both pale before the full experience with an audience in a theater. Also, if you think that this might be a great “date film”… I’d think twice.

—Steven Harding


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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