The Mythology Behind La Mulana’s Bosses #3: Ellmac

The third guardian in La Mulana‘s lineup of bosses is Ellmac, a gigantic frilled lizard. He chases you and a mine cart down a shaft, which conveniently stretches as long as the boss fight requires. What is the mythological precedent for Ellmac? Let’s find out.

Ellmac:

I wanted to go to the Lost World in South America – I was heartbroken to discover there were no dinosaurs; I still don’t accept it.
Brian Blessed — from Quest for the Lost World

Ellmac

Ellmac in La Mulana.

Image Source: The La Mulana Remake Wiki

I have no offhand knowledge of any being called Ellmac, so let’s consult the Internet. Hey Internet, what d0 you have on anything called “Ellmac” that isn’t in La Mulana?

Nothing.

What? Nothing!?

Not a thing.

Ok, then what do you have about deities which are frilled lizards? I’m sure somebody worshiped them at some point.

Nope.

You’re joking.

I am not. There are no jokes on the internet.

Ok then…

My best guess is that Ellmac might be a transliteration from Japanese, which may have been a translation of another name. A name that people in my age group know as the gate master of The Hidden Temple: Olmec.

Olmec_Head_No._1

“Olmec” in a yard somewhere.

Image Source: Wikipedia

There is no mythological deity called “Olmec,” but La Mulana, from the very first room of the ruins, is teeming with giant stone heads resembling the one pictured above. These are the archaeological equivalent to a business card of the Olmecs: a Mesoamerican society that existed around 1500 B.C. who are historically and internationally famous for their distinct, detailed, and long-lasting art.

Their most commonly depicted god is the “Olmec dragon” with trough-shaped eyes, a bulbous nose, and giant fangs. Flame-like eyebrows were a common feature on Olmec gods, and Ellmac has designs which appear to be flaming eyes on his frills. This dragon might be the inspiration for the La Mulana guardian even though the Olmec dragon god does not appear to have a frilled neck.

Addressing those frills, Ellmac looks a lot like one of these:

Chlamydosaurus_kingii

Ellmac in real life. Like Amphisbaena, it’s notably smaller.

Image Source: Wikipedia

It’s the creature that inspired the spitting dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, which, just like Ellmac, were the product of numerous creative liberties. These lizards are known for their speed, which allows them to run across the surface of water, so perhaps that’s why this lizard was chosen to be the dragon that chases a runaway minecart in La Mulana.