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Totem (1999)

Six people find themselves inexplicably transported to a remote cabin that is surrounded by an invisible barrier. In a nearby graveyard, they discover an ancient, carved stone monument that... See full summary »


David DeCoteau (as Martin Tate)


Charles Band (story), Neal Marshall Stevens (as Benjamin Carr)

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Cast overview:
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Six people find themselves inexplicably transported to a remote cabin that is surrounded by an invisible barrier. In a nearby graveyard, they discover an ancient, carved stone monument that they dub a "totem pole." Soon, they find themselves trapped in a murderous plot by malevolent forces that can control and manipulate their actions with the ultimate goal being to unleash three demonic entities from the monument. Written by JHC3

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Shape of Nightmares to Come...



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence and gore, and for pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

28 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Totem maldito See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Full Moon Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot in 4 days. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some of the gorier scenes in the film were actually cut to secure an R-rating. See more »


Edited into Horrific (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Bad, but somewhat watchable
10 September 2005 | by gtc83See all my reviews

This movie is about 6 people who are mysteriously drawn to a small cabin out in the woods. They're all strangers to each other. Once at the cabin, they find that an energy barrier prevents them from traveling more than a few hundred feet in any direction. They also find a cemetery with a sort of totem pole in it. Actually it doesn't look anything like a totem pole, it looks like three dolls on a vertical shelf, but I suppose "Totem" makes a much scarier title than "Three Dolls On A Vertical Shelf Unit". Once night falls, one of the characters turns up dead, and everyone suspects another character of killing her, but he can't remember doing it. Then a little demonic Muppet comes running into the cabin, and they manage to drive it away. Another character turns up dead, another demonic Muppet drags off a corpse, and our characters figure out that three of them are to kill the other three for some "mysterious purpose". Probably the most unbelievable thing that occurs in this movie is when they finally figure out the "mysterious purpose". One of the girls is dragged off by a demonic Muppet, and the other is lying helpless on the floor, and then we just cut to an old Viking movie. There are flames superimposed on the lower part of the screen. A narrator explains to us that in times of old, there were some bad guys who were really powerful and nearly took over the earth. I guess we're supposed to assume that these demon dolls in the movie are those bad guys. This whole thing will just leave you shaking your head. I mean, did the demons make this up as a sort of video informational packet for their intended victims to view before their demise? And since such a big deal is made of telling up that no one has been in this cabin for 100 years, I guess we can assume there's no TV for her to watch this on. So did they just beam the video into her head, complete with extremely grainy image quality?

I won't spoil the thrilling ending for you. Basically, this is a zero-budget movie with young actors who probably haven't been in much else, and they're not helped by a lousy script (half of the dialog is just nonsense, and it's a very dialog-heavy movie). And then there are the special effects - demonic Muppet dolls. As if everything else wasn't bad enough, these guys are just comical. Then you've got one of the actors who barely speaks English. He speaks paragraph after paragraph of dialog, and it's painful trying to figure out what he's saying. There's a scene where a girl is unconscious and she's mumbling a few random syllables, which the "English as a second language" guy translates. The humorous part is that she mumbles "umph, um-mm, uhhh" and he manages to translate each one of her syllables into a couple of sentences. That must be one extremely efficient language she's using. There's also the odd habit that most of the characters seem to share of using the F word in every sentence. I personally couldn't care less how much people swear, but it's so overused here that it's humorous.

I really can't criticize the movie too heavily. It's a no-budget cheapie probably filmed in a week, and for that it gives you exactly what you'd expect. A little bit of atmosphere, a lot of bad acting, a really slow moving plot, some utterly ridiculous moments, and a cute girl or two. Okay, so maybe the whole movie qualifies as a really ridiculous moment. I still found it vaguely enjoyable. Let me put it this way: I'd rather sit through this again than watch Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

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