In World of Warcraft (which I’m told is some sort of Lord of the Ringsslash fiction emulator) when you advance in levels you earn the right to increasingly “epic" mounts – fantastic creatures that more fully reflect your character's grace, power and terror. And yet, this reward system is sorely lacking in real life: If I ever got a promotion, the best I could possibly hope for is a Nissan Sentra that smells slightly less like corpses than the current one. And really, fuck that noise! Epic mounts should not be reserved solely for fantasy life. So I’ve went out and found five real life epic mounts that put your pimped out Hyundai to shame.
#5. The Sultan's ElephantThe Sultan’s Elephant is the name of a performance art show formerly produced by the Royal de Luxe Theatre Company. It consisted of a lot more than just the titular elephant, but most of that stuff was French bullshit like “art” and “wonder.” You, dear reader? You only need to know about that magnificent bastard of terror right up there: It’s 40-feet tall, weighs 50-tons and requires 22 people to operate.
The idea was presumably conceived when somebody saw Return of the King and, upon noting the monstrous four-story elephant-like hell-beasts depicted therein, immediately thought, “I would like for that to be more unstoppable. If only it were also a robot!” Sure, it might seem a bit tacky and overwrought for a mere status symbol but think about it: What better way to show you've truly made it than employing a small army just to work the knee joints of the battleship-sized elephant you ride to work?
#4. Fire Horse
The Fire Horse is what U.K. artist/clown Paka calls his flagship kinetic sculpture. The term “kinetic sculpture,” in case you’re wondering, is just how dangerously insane, genius, clown robot-masters refer to all of their doomsday machines. I think it’s for tax purposes. Paka built the first of many (oh shit, there’s more than one!) fire horses from an electric wheelchair taken from his dead grandmother which he repurposed into a flame-shooting mechanical beast.
Jesus, really? Was he trying to ensure it was haunted? That's not a sculpture, Paka, that's the kind of horrifying shit Clive Barker only admits to his psychiatrist. Here's a hint: It stopped being art somewhere around the time you taught it the meaning of "murder."
According to Paka, the Fire Horse is a full-size replica, and capable of everything that a real horse is: It has complete range of movement, it whinnies, it rears, it even poops! Yes, he actually said that it poops and no, he doesn’t say what; I’m forced to assume it's fear.
Yes, that definitely shits horror. At least I hope so, because I'm looking at it, and right now there is both shit and horror involved. If it's not the horse, then I need to get to the hospital.
Even more worrisome, however: An earlier prototype of the Fire Horse was stolen from Paka's workshop, and is still unaccounted for to this day. So please, if your neighborhood is being terrorized by a madman on an equine steel inferno, call this insane British clown. It's probably possessed by the spirit of his furious crippled grandmother. It has sentimental value.
#3. Crucible Fire Truck
The Crucible Fire Arts Festival is an answer to a question I have been asking for decades now: Art's great and all, but why isn’t it more on fire?
Featuring 60-foot high fire tornadoes and the undisputed lord and master of the seventh level of snake hell, The Crucible’s official vehicle is surprisingly practical for a parade based around reckless fire orgies: It’s a fire truck.
Oh no, ha ha! Not that kind of fire truck!
Did you think it was a method for putting out the several dozen rampaging mechanical infernos that almost certainly run amok by the end of every show? No. No, it is a truck that spews pillars of flame. Jesus, get your head out of your ass.
Oh God, no! Put it back! Put your head back in your ass; it was the only thing protecting your face from the burns!
The fire truck comes equipped with a fully functioning blacksmith forge mounted in back, as well as a welding and torch cutting setup in front--you know, just in case somebody calls your manhood into question when you pull up in your fire-ball spewing big rig, now you can bust out an impromptu sword in no time. Don't laugh; it's totally practical. The only guy who'd call you out in that thing is Conan the Barbarian, and he ends every sentence with a broadsword instead of a period. You need to come prepared.
#2. Mechanical Walker
Carlos Owens was a man with a dream: freedom and equality for all people, regardless of race or nation, and united forever in a peaceful society.
Oh wait, sorry, that was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Carlos Owens had a dream about rampaging through Alaska in a DIY Voltron.
It was a better dream.
After working for years as an army mechanic, Owens decided to use the skills he learned there to build a giant functional battlemech (wait, we have mechs in the army now?) Carlos' machine is equipped with 27 hydraulic cylinders in place of muscles, which it uses to mirror the pilot's arm and leg movements.
"And... other movements. You know what I mean, ladies?"
In an interview with Popular Mechanics, Owens initially talked about how he saw potential uses for this technology in everything from construction to the armed forces, but then, when pressed, he admitted to secretly just wanting hardcore mech-on-mech gladiator battles. I would have something snarky to say, but honestly, I'm just glad somebody’s finally got their fucking priorities straight. May God bless you with ingenuity, Mr. Owens, in equal or greater measures than he has insanity.
#1. La Machine Spiders
That, friends, is a giant robot spider.
What, seriously? You require more information? All right, but frankly I think that's being a bit greedy. Built by French artists La Machine and debuted in Japan, pictured above is one of the two (two!) spiders deployed in Yokohama either for some sort of festival or city-wide vengeance. I'm not really sure why it was there, and I am unable to check at this time because I refuse to look away from that thing even for a moment. Objectively, I know that's just a picture. But I simply do not have enough confidence in my senses to risk glancing away, just in case they're wrong and that thing's actually in the room with me.
Don't look up don't look up don'tlookup dontlookupdontlookup
I will tell you what I do know off-hand: It comes equipped with steam and water cannons to the front and rear--hopefully some sort of anti-Will Smith alarm comes standard--and if you ever actually get up on one, Captain Planet will appear out of nowhere and try to fight you. It seats three drivers, but if you actually find two more people willing to ride shotgun on your rampaging spider-bot, be wary: Skeletor and Cobra Commander don’t get along these days and I have it on good authority that neither will chip in for gas money.
You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots, where you can personally lament the absence of Cringer. If you got that reference, will you play He-Man with me? I'm so lonely...