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The 411 Douchebag of the Week: The Marshall Bell Edition

April 25, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Marshall Bell - Starship Troopers

The 411mania Douchebag of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Douchebag of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.

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Marshall Bell is a fairly prolific character actor of both movies and television who got started acting in 1984 with the movie Birdy, directed by Alan Parker. Since then, Bell has appeared in movies like Stand by Me, Cherry 2000, Twins, Operation Dumbo Drop, among many others, and TV shows like Tales from the Crypt, The X-Files, The Pretender, and Good vs. Evil. From the movies and shows that I’ve seen him in, Bell tends to play villains, authority figures, and, well, assholes, and as we all know assholes are very often douchebags, too. Big douchebags. And Bell has played many, many douchebags in his career.

And so, as I tend to do every so often, I’m going to take a look at what I think are the five biggest douchebag roles in Bell’s career, at least up until this point. According to imdb, Bell is still working, taking parts in both television and movies (check out Bell’s imdb page here), so there’s a chance that this list may change in a few years (or even next year, for that matter).

And now, without any further what have you, here are the top 5 Douchebag characters played by Marshall Bell.

Honorable Mentions

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General Owen: This is the cowardly general character that Bell played in the greatest movie ever made, Starship Troopers, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Of course, the general’s cowardice is totally understandable, since the outpost he commands on planet B has been taken over/attacked by the “dastardly” arachnids. And the arachnids, from the soldier bugs to the flying ones to the “tankers” that shoot out orange stuff and melt things to the “brain bugs,” the arachnids are fucking terrifying. If the bugs showed up where I worked and killed everyone and sucked the brains out of some, I’d probably perpetually shit myself, too. Still, at the same time, Owen is a goddamn general of the Federation. Even in the face of horrific danger, he should be a little more “steely” than he turns out to be.

The general should have taken up a machine gun and shot at some of the invading arachnids during the big hooha swarm before he was taken out by that flying bug.

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Husband: This is the character Bell played in “All Through the House,” the second episode of the first season of the great HBO horror anthology show Tales from the Crypt. Now, Bell’s husband character, married to a woman played by Mary Ellen Trainor, isn’t alive in the episode for all that long, but we get a very real sense of just how awful he is right when the episode starts and, man, the husband is just terrible. When Trainor smashes a fireplace poker into the top of his head, killing him, you’re not that sad about it. You probably wonder why she didn’t kill him sooner. After being murdered, Bell’s husband’s corpse is totally uncooperative. Bell’s husband is also much fatter than he used to be before they got married. And on top of that she has to deal with his body while the house is attacked by a deranged killer dressed in a Santa Claus outfit played by Larry Drake. That’s just bullshit, man.

So what should Bell’s husband character have done? Not been such a jerk douchebag to his wife the whole time they were married. If he hadn’t been such a douchebag, he could have been seen as heroic when he no doubt would have been killed by Drake’s deranged Santa. That kind of death, in the big scheme of things, would have been much better received. He’d be remembered fondly.

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Coach Schneider: This is the asshole gym teacher character that Bell played in the first A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge. When I first saw Freddy’s Revenge on HBO back in the day, as part of a Friday night double feature with the first Freddy movie (remember when HBO did double features on Friday nights?), I didn’t really notice all of the “gay subtext” in the movie. I was outraged, though, that Coach Schneider would make a troubled student like Mark Patton’s Jesse run laps in the gym middle of the night (so what if Jesse went to a bar and ordered a drink? Why the hell was that so important?). And what the fuck was that shower stuff about? Schneider would eventually be killed in that same shower by Freddy after being attacked by gym equipment and strung up via jump ropes (he had his back slashed and that’s what he died from).

Now, without the “gay subtext,” Schneider is just an asshole douchebag gym teacher that likes to torture his students. When you take the “gay subtext” into question, you realize that Schneider is an S&M rapist and that was what he was going to do in the shower to Jesse before Freddy showed up. Jesus Christ, that’s awful. And what the fuck?

It’s too bad Freddy didn’t cut Schneider’s face off.

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Webster: This is the super shady character Bell played in the comedy Twins. Webster, as far as I can tell, is a guy that people call when they need something illicit transported. And while Webster is apparently very good at his job, he also has one personal rule that apparently no one knows about until it’s too late, and when I say “too late” I mean he shoots them dead. And what is Webster’s big rule, the one that “forces” him to kill people? No one knows what he looks like. So when someone he’s dealing with sees his face, Webster gets the info he needs and then he shoots them.

As far as I’m concerned that’s just nonsense. So what if people know what he looks like? As long as the money is good and the check clears, that’s all that should matter. I mean, what if it gets out that he killed someone he was doing business with and potential future clients suddenly decide to go find someone else to transport their stuff? That will be the end of his business and then what is he going to do?

I wonder how long it took Webster to suffocate under that giant pile of chains that Ahnold Schwarzenegger’s Julius drops on him at the end of the movie. And, shit, do you think his body was all mangled and bloody and whatnot when the cops or whoever removed the chains and dealt with the body?

Douchebag

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And now, the 411 Douchebag of the Week goes to Mr. Lachance, the character Bell played in the Stephen King adaptation Stand by Me, directed by Rob Reiner. Mr. Lachance, I think, can best be described as a super distant, asshole father who openly loved one of his children more than the other (Denny, played by John Cusack, is the one he loved, while Gordie, played by Will Wheaton, is the one he didn’t really care for). And when we find out that Denny died, Mr. Lachance became super despondent and even more distant. I mean, sure, one of your children dies that’s going to mess you up, but Denny wasn’t Mr. Lachance’s only kid and that other kid, Gordie, needed his father’s love and help at that moment, too. Mr. Lachance couldn’t give Gordie that love, though. Instead, he treated Gordie like he didn’t matter.

Think back to that funeral flashback/dream, where Gordie hears his father, at his dead brother’s funeral, “It should have been you, Gordie.” Holy fuck, who does that? That’s just devastating and brutal. Mr. Lachance may not be the absolute worst cinematic father of all time, but, damn, he’s in the running for it. Again, who tells their son that he should have died so the other, “better” son could live? Is Gordie’s non-sports background and sensitivity really all that bad? So what if he’s a writer?

What an awful, awful human being.

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