The 6 Most Intimidating Statues from Around the World
If you've ever had the privilege of seeing the Statue of Liberty in person, you were probably struck with a mix of patriotism and awe, immediately followed by a twinge of boredom. Lady Liberty is great and all, but unless she's kicking ass in a Toby Keith song or flipping out in front of a tax preparation office, she's usually not something to be afraid of. Her designers could have learned a thing or two from these idols of badassery, which are more likely to haunt your dreams than inspire your love of country.
Half Lion, Half Fish, All Badass
Quick quiz: What's the national mascot of Singapore? Quick answer: the Merlion. Second quick quiz: What's a Merlion? Second quick answer: It's like a mermaid, but with the top half of a lion instead of a woman. And it's goddamned terrifying:
Either way that puss smells like tuna.
So Singapore's 11-story Merlion would have been spectacular and/or nightmarish in its own right, considering the look of pure dumb crazy in its eyes and the span of its gaping mouth. But you have to be careful not to confuse the 11-story Sentosa Merlion with the Merlion of Merlion Park, which is actually a fountain that projectile vomits water into the bay below because it's a Merlion and it doesn't give a fuck.
Considering what cats usually spray, this could be much worse.
The Sentosa Merlion doesn't just boast the shape of a monster, the height of a building, and a hollow body that you can climb into on days when you just want to know what it's like to gaze on your city from the mouth of a fish-lion about to go on a rampage ...
"Is that your stomach growling?"
... it has a much weirder trick up its sleeve. It turns out the whole thing is covered with 16,000 lights that turn the statue into a mythological disco party at night. And its mouth and eyes are lit from within, so you'll never forget what hell looked like in the '70s.
And, if the mood is right and the power is up and running, this Merlion shoots LASERS out of its EYES. All statues should have that capability.
The Motherland Calls You (to Hell)
Deep in the heart of what used to be Stalingrad is a statue so fearsome, so monstrous, so testing-the-boundaries-of-what-God-will-allow, that it's actually in danger of self-destruction any day now. Not just because of the person-size mouth that threatens to inhale all the good oxygen that's left in the world, but because it's just too damn big. Behold, "The Motherland Calls":
"Higher! Kick higher, or you'll taste my blade!"
Now, it helps to know that this sword-swinging giant isn't just an ode to big-muscled Russian ladies -- she's commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad, a World War II fight that saw over a million deaths between the two sides. So while America's iconic lady statue carries a torch lighting the way toward freedom, Russia's is carrying a sword lighting the way toward certain annihilation. If you ever needed to know what the Cold War was about, this is probably it.
"Commie ... Commie ... Communism, hoooooooooo!"
But there's a problem. The statue is so massive that the two shawls on her back are each the size of a Mack truck and weigh 250 tons apiece. The statue as a whole weighs a gigantic 8,000 tons.
"Fuck you, it's just some holiday weight."
Look at that chart. The Statue of Liberty may be slightly taller than Russia's giant female sword monster, but if you take away the Statue of Liberty's wussy pedestal, it's barely half of Mama Calls' size. "The Motherland Calls," on the other hand, is standing on the GROUND like an average Joe. Hell, "The Motherland Calls" isn't even attached to its foundation. It's just resting there on the hill with its weight and gravity being the only thing keeping it from kicking the whole Earth's ass. It's so rad, it doesn't even care about structural integrity, a fact you might want to keep in mind the next time you visit the area.
Peter the Great Has the Eyes of a Madman
Have you ever wondered what it would look like if Edgar Allan Poe piled a bunch of ships on top of each other, climbed to the top, then looked out upon the ocean with a set of eyes so crazy, they begged for an intervention? Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli did. So, in 1997, he used the 300th anniversary of the founding of Russia's navy to unleash this heap of anger on the city of Moscow:
To be fair, 300 is the Terrifying Nautical Statue Anniversary.
Now, obviously the man above isn't Edgar Allan Poe or William Shakespeare or Bill Murray or any of the other men he slightly resembles; he's supposed to be Peter the Great, the ruthless czar who dragged Russia into modernity. It just so happens that this version of Peter is dressed like a Roman centurion and holding a golden scroll that bears the names of all who will be consumed by his wavy locks. His other hand is steering the ship, which isn't so much a ship as it is a "ship collection," but we'll get to that in a second.
"The scroll is a menu, and dinner is your souls."
Under Peter's feet is a decent-size boat. Sure, it's small compared to his giant form, but realistic scale isn't a concern when creating the world's most badass monuments. What's more important is what's underneath that ship, which is about a dozen other ships, each jammed mercilessly with a flag of St. Andrew's cross, just so you don't forget who's in charge here.
Not pictured: Thousands of gruesomely murdered sailors.
The Saint of Force Can't Scowl Any Harder
That scowling giant about to march off and fight Godzilla is a first-century Chinese general named Guan Yu. The guy started as a run-of-the-mill soldier, but legend turned him into a god who holds a spot in Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Triple threat! Kind of like Jesus, but not even a little bit. While there are countless statues of Guan Yu all over the world, it took until 2010 for engineering technology and copper accumulations to catch up to the monument that Guan deserved.
The Fu Manchu technology alone took 15 years to develop.
Even his belt buckle is horrifying. Notice how puny the tourists are in comparison to the statue. You can't see their faces, but they're actually all crying in this picture. You would be, too, if you were in the presence of a legend nicknamed "The Saint of Force," a title he earned by helping establish the Shu Kingdom through sheer badassery. According to legend, Guan Yu pummeled his way through an army of thousands to lop off the opposing general's head, played chess and got drunk during his own bone-scraping surgery, and carried around a crescent blade known as the Green Dragon. THE GREEN DRAGON. Oh, and after getting decapitated by his enemies, he apparently appeared to a Buddhist monk, demanding, "Return me my head." Why the hell doesn't the statue depict that?
The African Renaissance Monument Will Muscle You into Submission
The African Renaissance Monument was born from the mind of a Senegalese president known for vanity projects, financed by $37 million in taxes from the people of a Third World country, and built by North Korea. So this monument on the coast of Senegal might be the world's best advertisement for getting your fucking way no matter how much everyone disagrees with you. And it's also a good reminder to never give up on your ab work.
"Strong pimp hands aren't all about arms. There's core work, too."
To really understand what puts this monument on the Teddy Roosevelt end of badass, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Specifically, take a look at what this family is emerging from -- it's a VOLCANO. Are there even volcanoes in Senegal? Who knows? It doesn't matter, because this ripped family was forged from the fiery depths of the Earth itself and there's nothing you can do to contain them.
Likewise, you can also view him as having a volcano for a dick.
From this angle, the mom looks a little like Lara Croft if she traded in her utility belt for half a bed sheet and let a whole boob dangle out in the process. Normally, sticking a cartoonishly buxom woman's body on a 160-foot monument wouldn't ruffle too many feathers, but Senegal is 94 percent Islamic. The president just didn't give a shit.
The headband on the guy is made up of windows, by the way -- he has an observation tower in his skull:
Which we're assuming has a full gym.
Finally, perched up on the dad's chiseled shoulders is the world's most muscular baby pointing to what we can assume to be your doom. Or the Pacific Ocean, depending on how you feel about water.
"There. That's the nation I want, Father."
The Statue That Documents When God Went Metal
Imagine you're taking a quiet stroll along the Norwegian coast when you stumble upon three stone swords thrust into the ground. Is it a test? If you pull them out, are you the rightful king of Norway? In a fit of righteous anger, did God himself stab the Scandinavian country with three 32-foot-tall swords? Does God hate pale people?
"And as I stab your Earth with these swords, so shall the sun stab through your melanin, pale devils."
Maybe. Or maybe the Sverd i Fjell monument was erected in 1983 to commemorate the exact spot where Norway was founded, but that's not nearly as interesting a story. If that's the one we're going with, the largest sword represents King Harald Fairhair, who crushed his opponents into submission during battle in 872, hopefully while wielding a sword that was the exact height as the one depicted here. That act alone makes up for having the last name "Fairhair."
The hilt of each sword is designed to honor a different part of the country, and they're a popular backdrop for wedding ceremonies. The fact that these weapons of the gods are seen by some people as a symbol of everlasting love, instead of a place to settle family blood feuds and hold beheadings, really goes to show you how badass Norway really is.
Joey Clift is a sketch comedy writer and performer living in Los Angeles. He's written bits and segments for Scare Tactics on SyFy, Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, and World's Deadliest on National Geographic Wild. Check out his sketch group on YouTube and Facebook.
Related Reading: If you're not done staring slacked-jawed at insane statues, this article should oblige you. Behold the horrifying wonder of Switzerland's baby-eating fountain. Follow up by learning why Detroit's RoboCop statue is so very necessary. Cyborg justice alone can carry us through this recession. And if "monuments to great people" are a passion of yours, this article will show you how hilariously wrong they can go.