God bless Red Letter Media. For nearly a decade the Milwaukee-based film and video company has carved out a sweet slice of internet fame with its insanely popular “Mr. Plinkett” movie reviews, incisive and ridiculous shows like Half In The Bag, and the mirthful chuckle of unofficial mascot Rich Evans. Yet another RLM show, Best Of The Worst, finds joy and hilarity in cheesy VHS tapes from the ’80s and ’90s. And in the series’ latest “Wheel Of The Worst” episode, the RLM gang stumbles upon perhaps the greatest cheesy VHS tape from the ’80s and ’90s ever: a Milwaukee-made police instructional tape from 1988, Surviving Edged Weapons.
“This is the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen on ‘Wheel Of The Worst,'” says co-host Jay Bauman before he, Mike Stoklasa, Josh Davis, and Evans dive into the bat-shit glory of Surviving Edged Weapons. “Maybe the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen on Best Of The Worst as a whole.” And holy shit, he’s not kidding. Yes, it’s a serious (and sometimes real-life graphic) instructional tape for police officers going up against blade-wielding madmen and women, but it’s also a lovingly produced series of scripted reenactments featuring sassy prostitutes, backroom cocaine deals, prison shankings, crossbows, razor blade baseball caps, samurai swords, cavemen, and, yes, satanic rituals. Oh, and plenty of late-’80s Milwaukee landmarks and wicked “ya der hey” accents.
“A tear came out of my eye,” says Stoklasa at one point, “and then it turned into a bald eagle and it flew away, and I said, ‘This is the best video I’ve ever seen.'” Agreed.
And here’s the entire (sometimes not-safe-for-work/life) film: