When we first stumbled upon images of La Machine's mechanical spider, "La Princesse," our first thought was "Oh sweet mercy, that thing's terrifying! Kill it with fire!" Our second thought? "That's totally awesome!"

La Machine is a French technical performance group which put together the giant spider, named La Princesse, over the course of a year in secret. The beast was unveiled in September of 2008 in Liverpool and was trotted around the city as part of the 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations (whatever the heck that means). This past April it hit Yokohama, Japan, as part of the city celebrating the 150th anniversary of its port.

The giant puppet is constructed of steel and poplar, riding on a heavily modified wheeled crane chassis and is controlled via hydraulics by twelve puppeteers who ride along with the beast. Among its many talents, aside from scaring the bejesus out of any little kids who see it, are the ability to shoot water, fire, smoke, make snow and wind, flash lights and make noise, and move at a breakneck pace of 2 MPH. Bottom line is this thing is simultaneously very awesome and scary as hell. If Google ever gains consciousness and launches a war on humanity, its minions will probably look a whole lot like this baby.

Photo credit: Peter Carr, Fotothing, Wikipedia