March 20, 2016
Through its highs and lows, I've been a fan of AHS since the beginning. I won't delve into my feelings on each specific season, but I've held Murder House in very high esteem for setting the bar so high.
I watched the MP4 version and was very satisfied with the A/V quality. It was rather dark in a few places, but the original show was very shadowy and contrasty to begin with. Visually the edit was exceptionally well put together. There was a single instance of a brief flicker of some missing frames towards the start, but given how great everything else was, I think we can overlook that. The audio was very well done. There were a few audio fades and transitions that sounded a bit off, but those could have very well been present in the original show.
Now, that's all well and good, but the real question you may be asking yourself is "how well did the story survive being trimmed down to an hour thirty-seven minutes?" A great question, with a complex answer. Just in case you were wondering, SPOILERS FOLLOW! Generally speaking, the story flows well enough. The connections between sequences are easy enough to make, but I do think things could have been fleshed out a bit more. For example, a sex scene between Vivien and Ben. But then when she reveals she's pregnant, he doesn't question why his wife is pregnant if they've never had sex. We know that he had an affair, but there's not much to show how it damaged their relationship and why Vivien seeing Ben as the Rubberman is so important. Larry Harvey (as portrayed by the wonderful Denis O'Hare) is set up as a somewhat major player, but after we see how he got burned and he helps Ben dispose of Hayden's body, he's never seen again. There are some allusions to what happened to Moira, but her story is never really explored either. Vivien also, suddenly, wants to move from the house, and Ben is completely behind her. But why? Nothing especially traumatic happened. She had a pretty bad nightmare (or was it?!) but that's really it. Again, a little fleshing out would probably have made the story just a bit stronger. That said, the Tate and Violet story was just as interesting as it was in the original airing. The pieces to Tate's story fall into place for the viewer as they do for Violet, so we are "along for the ride" as it were. The reveal doesn't feel cheap or gimmicky, and was very well executed.
But now, dear reader, you may be wondering "why did you rate your enjoyment an 8 with all those criticisms?" That's because I did genuinely enjoy it. The overall narrative could have been stronger, but minute to minute, scene to scene, I was compelled by what was going on, and reminiscing more than a little on first watching the series. I highly recommend this edit to AHS fans, as well as to folks thinking of dabbling in a TV edit. Yes, it's a daunting task. But this edit shows that it can be done, and done well.
Keep it up, Mr Ninja!