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New Video presents
Weird U.S. Volume II (2005)

Mark Moran: I bet there was a time when even Abraham, Jesus and Mohammed were considered weirdos.
Mark Sceurman: So we set out on a pilgrimage to find the more odder expressions of faith across the U.S. today.

- Mark Moran, Mark Sceurman

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: February 28, 2006

Stars: Mark Moran, Mark Sceurman
Director: Vincent Kralyevich

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: February 28, 2006
UPC: 733961745139
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman have spent 12 years probing the weirdness of their home state of New Jersey, publishing a local magazine documenting the little known, strange, and bizarre that they have investigated and unearthed. This eventually morphed into a series of books tracing the weirdness found in other states, and that eventually led to this wonderfully offbeat History Channel series hosted by Moran and Sceurman.

Each one-hour episode has the pair bouncing around the country, loosely following a theme, covering three to five different weird stories that they attempt to uncover the truth about. Instead of a season set, these are single-disc compilation releases, each containing just two episodes. The episodes run just under 44 minutes without commercials.

Weird Worship takes on spiritual enlightenment and religious freedom in varying shades of weird "fringe faiths," looking at the Unarius Academy and their alien deities as well as the quirky Grotto of The Redemption—built of geodes and petrified materials—in rural Iowa. The ep concludes with the real highlight, which is the talk of the impending arrival of our "space brothers," including a tour of a cheesey mock-up city at the Unarius headquarters.

Weirdly Departed is the second episode here, and the theme is what might happen after we die, or at least what others believe might happen. There's a look at a famous case of attempted corpse resurrection in Key West and also an enclave of the spiritualism movement (also in Florida); there is a bit about the infamous charlatans, the Fox sisters, and the boom of the "talking to the dead" craze, courtesy of the sisters' double-jointed toes. There's interviews with a "certified" medium, a visit to the expanding Winchester House, and a paranormal tour of a Civil War-era prison in Philadelphia.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Both episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Colors are generally clean and bright for the interviews, but some of the on location segments appear a little oversaturated. The purposeful color corrected or grainy stock footage used in between these on location segments varies in detail levels, though any image variations seem intentional.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in 2.0 stereo, and the presentation delivers clear, hiss-free narration. Basic, but solid.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras to be found, unless you still consider "interactive menus" and "scene selection" as supplements, as the backcover does.

Each episode is split into six chapters.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Volume II of the series Weird U.S. takes on the realm of the otherworldly, whether it be religious beliefs or chatting up the dead. I love the show, but these two episode compilations seem like a tease. Bring on the season set, I say!


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