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Lizards in Movies
The Holy Mountain (1973)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain
The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain
The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain
The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain The Holy Mountain
This was made by the insane avant-garde director Alejandro Jodorowsky. I'm not even going to try to summarize it here.

In a Mexican town a large banner advertises a "Great Toad and Chameleon Circus." (The Chameleons are actually Horned Lizards.) Another sign reads "Today - The Conquest of Mexico." We see on a platform a large replica of an Aztec city with pyramids and dozens of horned lizards, some small, some very large and fat, all tied up at various places in the city, including on pyramid steps and on the tops of the pyramids. Most of the horned lizards are dressed up in brightly colored hats and outfits to look like Aztec royalty.

Three large Spanish Galleons that are full of large toads dressed up either in silver armor like Spanish soldiers or in brown robes and hoods like Spanish monks are wheeled up to the Aztec city. The toads are put on the city where they begin to hop over the tied-down horned lizards. We see some of them attempting to bite the horned lizards. Then we see bright red paint, representing blood, flowing down from the tops of the pyramids onto the lizards and toads. In a wide shot we see live toads and lizards piled on top of pyramids, along with dead ones hanging over the edge, all of them covered with red paint. Then the pyramids begin to explode. We see several explosions with toads and lizards and their body parts flying through the air. These appear to be real animals being killed. They could be fake rubber animals, but I'm pretty sure they're real. We see plenty of dead animals elsewhere. After the carnage is over we see piles of dead animals and a few live toads hopping off the platform.

Jodorowsky wanted to convey something about the brutality of the conquistadors and the church and their bloody conquest of Mexico and murder of the Native Americans, and he knows that the message will be more powerful if we see real death, but what I take away from this scene is that Jodorowsky thinks it's OK to abuse and kill animals for his art. He constantly pushes the limits in his films, challenging us with views of sex and violence and insanity and evil, but in this scene, and in the vicious dog fight later in the film, he goes way too far. (He notoriously claims to have actually raped an actress during a rape scene in another of his movies, so I don't doubt he would kill animals.)

The horned lizards are probably Mexican plateau Horned Lizards. The toads seem to be Cane Toads, also known as Giant Toads or Marine Toads.

The whole scene used to be on YouTube but it was removed. It's worth checking to see if someone put it back there.