“Yeah, they’re dead …. they’re all messed up.”
There’s a lot of disturbing scenes in the original Night of the Living Dead but I’ve always loved this live, televised interview with the chief of police. First, there’s the delivery of that classic line. “….they’re all messed up.” Yes, they are. Then there’s the fact that the chief doesn’t seem to be particularly perturbed by the fact that the dead are coming back to life. Instead, his attitude is very straight-forward. It’s happening, we need to take care of it, let’s arm some civilians.
Of course, this interview sets up the film’s ending, in which we learn that those helpful civilians with guns are a bit trigger happy and sometimes, the living get in the way. When you first see this interview, it’s easy to laugh at the sight of the chief’s posse and everyone’s odd confidence that the dead will somehow just go away. (Death, after all, is the one thing that is guaranteed to happen to everyone eventually.) Once you know how the story’s going to end, though, this scene becomes much more ominous.