(Editor's Note: A reader commented on this post last night to let us know these bootlegs are still circulating, so I'm pushing this back to the top of the website.)
A few weeks back, I received a message from a reader on Tumblr by the name of "lzbarnabas." (He's a pretty active DARK SHADOWS fan and is well-worth following, FYI.) He had ordered DARK SHADOWS: THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL SERIES DELUXE EDITION and was disappointed when the package arrived. The product was so cheaply made that he was suspicious of its origins. With flimsy cardboard packaging, a UPC barcode that claimed to be "limited edition" and numerous DVDs with glued-on labels, he was pretty sure it was a bootleg.
It took a while for lzbarnabas to get his money refunded and, when he ordered the collection from a different vendor, he was pretty sure something was rotten in Denmark. Or, at least, Collinsport.
Luckily, he had the foresight to photograph and video both products for comparison. I forwarded the videos to a representative at MPI Home Video, the distributor of DARK SHADOWS: THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL SERIES DELUXE EDITION, who has issued this warning to customers:
It has come to our attention that there are counterfeit sets being sold and distributed for Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series Deluxe Edition (MPI item # DVD7991). These counterfeit sets appear nearly identical to the authentic sets. If you are experiencing playback issues with your discs, it is possible that you have purchased a counterfeit set. If so, please alert us as to where you purchased the set. The more detail you can provide us (seller, links, pictures, etc.), the more it will help us put a stop to this illegal distribution. Below is a list of ways you can tell you have purchased a counterfeit set:
- The authentic set is wrapped in a plastic polybag whereas the counterfeit set is shrink wrapped.
- The authentic set has a thread that prevents the coffin lid from opening too far. The counterfeit set will open all the way (i.e. no thread).
- The colors are much purer on the authentic set (stronger reds and blacks).
- The pages in the booklet are a thinner/poor quality whereas the authentic set is a thicker glossier stock.
- The corners of the set might be banged up on the counterfeit set.
- MPI used eco-friendly trays in the amaray cases which have holes in them to save on plastic where the counterfeit sets have solid black plastic backing behind each disc.
- The picture quality of the actual program will be poorer. The counterfeit sets use a single-layer disc, compressing the quality onto one disc, whereas the authentic version contains dual-layered discs.
- The counterfeit set will have defective discs whereas the authentic set should not.
MPI is not responsible for the purchase or quality of counterfeit sets. If you have purchased an illegal set, we recommend contacting eBay and putting a claim against the seller of the counterfeit set. We also encourage you to make your purchases through established retailers such as Amazon.com. eBay is not a recommended outlet for this item, and MPI does not sell this item via eBay.Below is the original video from lzbarnabas showing him excitedly opening the bootleg DVD collection. For comparison, click HERE to see his video of the legitimate DVD product.
MPI Home Video