Film and TV

Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation Festival Returning to Offend Every One of You

It's been a couple of years since the city of Dallas has had their tolerance tested for excessive violence and suffering presented as entertainment. We don't mean within the hustle and bustle that is life in the Metroplex. Thanks to a population that's heavily armed, traditional cuisine that's deliciously fattening and the Dallas Cowboys, those things are tested in our lives on a daily basis and we always get grades that belong on the Dean's List.

We're referring to Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation, a traveling cavalcade of cartoons and animated short films that test the limits of good taste and your breaking point for offense. It hasn't been to Dallas in at least three years but they plan to correct that by returning on Friday, May 23 at The Texas Theatre with an armload of animated perversions for the evil troll that lives in your subconscious.

This traveling animation festival has become a historic launching point for some of the biggest names in animation and film production. It started in 1977 and has been continuously touring ever since, with armloads of films drawn by such soon-to-be famous names as Tim Burton, Mike Judge, Matt Stone and Trey Parker and Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park.

Joseph Liebhardt, Spike & Mike's production manager, said our wing of their latest tour will actually including a mix of new films from budding animators and artists and a backlog of some old favorites that have yet to penetrate the virgin eyes of DFW film buffs.

"Every year, we go through literally thousands of films that get sent to us or we find interesting at festivals and screenings," Liebhardt said. "The majority are ones that we personally don't find interesting. The difference between us and other film festivals is we distill them into what we think are the best of the best."

Some of the more famous shorts to be featured on the duo's festival circuit include some of the early Pixar shorts and Frog Baseball, the short film that first featured Judge's brain dead duo Beavis & Butt-head.

Their upcoming show will actually feature a mix of new animated shorts and some recent staples since they have a backlog to make up for the last three years they weren't in our neck of the woods. The titles include names that sounds like they wouldn't disappoint the discerning obscene animation fan like Path of Blood, Fantasy in Bubblewrap and Powerplay: Safe Sex.

Liebhardt also said they will screen a couple of new classics like the short Two in the AM PM that served as the basis for the Cartoon Network series Regular Show and the PSA Dumb Ways to Die.

Liebhardt said any fan of animation is welcome to come as long as they don't bring their children. Seriously, hire a babysitter and leave the little buggers at home.

"This is for people 18 and over only," he said. "We get calls all the time from people saying, 'Why did I bring my 10-year-old son to the show?' We try to make that abundantly clear."

Tickets to the screenings are $10 and available at

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.