The film depicts a runaway star on a collision course with Earth in the then-future decade of the 1980s. Unlike most other impact event stories, in which mankind must abandon the Earth (When Worlds Collide) or destroy the threat (Deep Impact, Armageddon), Gorath sees humanity attempt to avert disaster by disengaging Earth from its own orbit around the Sun. While the American When Worlds Collide can be seen as an influence on the story of Gorath, Daiei's 1956 film, Warning from Space, in which a planet is on a collision course with Earth, may have been a more direct inspiration.
Maguma is a fictional kaiju (giant monster) featured in the Japanese science fiction tokusatsu film Gorath, released by Toho in 1962. Based upon the real-life walrus and named after the molten rock found beneath the ground, the Maguma suit was designed by special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, and worn by stuntman Haruo Nakajima , who frequently performed kaiju in Toho films of the era, most notably their most famous monster character, Godzilla . The character is the only monster in the film, which primarily features a runaway collapsed star (the "Gorath" of the title) on a collision course with Earth and the efforts by the military to combat it.
One of those efforts was to place several rockets in Antarctica and other parts of the world, designed to push the Earth out of the runaway star's path, and, once the threat had passed, push it back. The movement causes numerous disasters around the world, and the heat from the ignition had an unexpected consequence—releasing Maguma from his icy prison. As it ravaged the nearby South Pole base with its sharp tusks and large fins, the plans to evade the incoming star were temporarily put in peril.
However, Maguma was ultimately shot down by a laser from an incoming VTOL, and the rockets reached their destination and destroyed the incoming star. The sequence featuring Maguma only makes up approximately six minutes of the finished film, but is an integral part of its structure and played a key role in the film's advertising, being a centerpiece of the poster. Even so, the character was a late addition, added only after insistence by producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. This was largely the result of the wild success of Toho's kaiju eiga (monster movies), as opposed to their mystery, horror, or science fiction offerings like Gorath and its predecessors The Mysterians and Battle in Outer Space.
However, when Gorath was released in the United States, dubbed into English, by Brenco Pictures, the distributors found the character's appearance comical, even dubbing him "Wally the Walrus" (most likely inspired by Wally Walrus, an antagonist from the Woody Woodpecker cartoons popular at the time). As such, they removed the sequence for their cut of the film, and it has never been restored to the English-language edit, which was aired several times on television throughout the 1960s and '70s.
The film was released in the United States by Brenco Pictures. Most of the visual content was kept intact, but the six-minute sequence featuring the character Maguma was removed. The distributors found the character's appearance comical, even dubbing him "Wally the Walrus" (most likely inspired by Wally Walrus, an antagonist from the Woody Woodpecker cartoons popular at the time). As such, they removed the sequence for their cut of the film, and it has never been restored to the English-language edit, which was aired several times on television throughout the 1960s and '70s.
The English dubbing was done by Ryder Sound Services, and scripted by Star Trek writer John Lucas.Only four voice actors were used to dub the film. Besides the voices, the audio track was tampered with, including adding a sound effect for the meteor which was not in the original Japanese version.
Brenco Pictures re-released the film on a double-bill with The Human Vapor in 1968, but between the two releases never turned a profit on their investment in Gorath. The company closed in 1969 soon after the death of co-owner Edward L. Alperson on July 3 of that year. The film was purchased by Heritage Enterprises and distributed to U.S. television. Presumably, it was seen by more people on TV than by people who saw it between its two theatrical releases.
The planet Gorath later appeared as a meteorite in Godzilla: Final Wars. Acording to the Xilliens, a dead star went supernova and expelled Gorath (possibly a small planet broken into smaller chunks after this event). In truth, Gorath was part of the Xilliens' plans to bring there most powerful warrior, Monster X AKA Keizer Ghidorah, to Earth. The chunk was probably hollowed out to acheive this. The planet it's self is CGI in the movie but the sequence in which it releases Monster X is animatronic and CGI.