Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation will forever remind me of Valentine's Day. Yeah, that's pretty messed up, but in an awesome kind of way. The first time I checked out Spike & Mike's, I went with a friend of mine on Valentine's; the next year, my friend and I decided we'd go again, thinking we were starting a yearly tradition. We thought wrong. The festival, it turns out, was mostly recycled—and after seeing 75 percent of the same cartoons with only a handful of new, less-than-satisfying shorts, we vowed not to return to Spike & Mike's for at least five years. By then, surely enough new material would be added to make it worth going to again.

If my friend hadn't died in a horrible fire a while back, this would be the year we'd be proven wrong about it taking five years to improve. Finally, Spike & Mike's has a ton of new stuff. Of the 28 shorts being shown, only three are ones I've seen. But is the new material any good? Well, among the standard collection of your average dick, fart, sex, and bodily fluid jokes, there are a few gems that totally make the festival worth the effort.

First of all, "Chirpy" is a hilarious mini-porno about a bird that eats magical mushrooms and fucks a horse. The dialogue and raw animation style are priceless, and I laughed my silly ass off. It brings a tear of joy to my eye to see "Washington," by Cox & Combes, make it into the festival this year. It's both hilariously intelligent and bizarre—and I bet it will look glorious on the big screen. (If you want a sneak peek, search for "Washington" on YouTube.) The other short that really caught my attention is "Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle." The plot is played out videogame style, and while it drags on too long in places, it ended up penetrating my heart regardless with its humorous jabs at the videogame industry.

If Spike & Mike's is your cup of tea, this is a good year to check it out, because—finally—they've really got it going on.