Maguma is a fictional kaiju (giant monster) featured in the Japanese science fiction tokusatsu film Gorath, released by Toho in 1962. Based upon the walrus and named after subterranean molten rock (magma), 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 (including their most famous monster character, Godzilla). Maguma is the only monster in the film, the focus of which is a runaway collapsed star on a collision course with Earth.
As Gorath approaches, several enormous rocket boosters are constructed in Antarctica and other parts of the world to push Earth out of the runaway star's path. The heat from the rockets has an unexpected consequence: releasing Maguma from the polar ice. As the monster ravages the South Pole base, the plan to evade Gorath is imperiled. Maguma is ultimately killed by a laser.
The sequence featuring Maguma only makes up approximately six minutes of the finished film, but played a key role in the film's advertising. The character was a late addition, after insistence by producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, due to the box-office successes of Toho's kaiju eiga (monster movies) compared to its other mystery, horror, and science fiction offerings such The Mysterians and Battle in Outer Space.
Conversely, Maguma's role was completely removed from the U.S. release of the film. In Ultra Q, the suit would be reused to make Todola.
The film was released in the US 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 on television throughout the 1960s and '70s.
The English dubbing was done by Ryder Sound Services, and scripted by Star Trek writer John Meredyth Lucas. Only four voice actors were used to dub the film. Besides the voices, the audio track was modified, 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.
This movie is straight from Japan never seen here in America! Uncut!
Superior Quality in Dolby digital!
Extras: Original trailers!
Video/Audio Quality: A
DVD is NTSC format, All-Region and playable world wide.
Subtitle: English (removable)
Region Code: All (1,2,3,4,5,6)
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Number of discs: 2
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Posted by Michael Kobrinetz on 4th Apr 2017
A Great Suspenseful SciFi Movie! Great Characters, Great Plot, and Fantastic Special Effects. Its in Great Quality too. I really don't care for the English Dub. The Effects still hold up even today. Overall! A Great SciFi flick. This Movie definitely gives Star Wars, and Star Trek, a run for their money.
Posted by Unknown on 10th Jun 2016
I finally got to see this movie and it was a very good copy. I do agree Maguma doesn't add much to the story.