A quick test of a spine system I did in Houdini, the twist works from -359 to 359 degrees and is based on vex. and is interpolated between the yellow start and end controlls.
next step will be to implement a shelf tool to generate it. The mechanical tentacle was just to see some geometry working with the spine, that it just a curve with quaternion and vector point attributes. the system works very fast, You can interactively pose it, and it plays almost in realtime.