The Fiendish Machinations of Lex Luthor

Indifare Award Winner

Crew Member’s Name

Director: Sam Locke; Assistant Directors: Joe McDonald, Chris Albano; WRITERS: Sam Locke, Dustin Levell, Peter Robards, Derrick Gaetke; CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ava Threlkel; PUPPETEERS: Sam Locke, Noah Ginex, Tahnee Lacey; SOUND EDITING: Joe Griffin; FOLEY: Ele Matelan; MUSIC: Lisa McQueen

Film Overview

A unique, comedic take on Superman, featuring puppetry, “The Fiendish Machinations of Lex Luthor” finds Lex Luthor trying to prove Superman’s secret identity

About Director

Sam is an actor, director, puppeteer, special effects artist, and musician living in Chicago, IL. Currently Sam works as a Resident Director and Teacher at the Annoyance Theater. Sam has also directed numerous shows with the Annoyance Theater including multiple remounts of Splatter Theater, several short original one-acts as part of the Wednesday night Triple Feature program, and the all ages show series: “Weirdos”. Sam is continuing to create new short films featuring puppetry, co-hosts the limited internet series “Late Night Freak Show” and is currently working on producing his first feature film.


How do you choose your star cast?

The cast of The Fiendish Machinations of Lex Luthor were chosen from the Chicago theater community that I have worked with before. I met Derrick Gaetke and Kat Evans working on the live radio podcast “Starlight Radio Dreams.” I met Colin Stanley at the Annoyance Theater performing improv, he was suggested for the short by my co-director Joe McDaniel. I had envisioned the short’s Superman being portrayed by a puppet when I first conceived of the idea from a doodle featuring an grey alien as Clark Kent.

How tough it is for a producer to keep the budget unaffected?

Adhering to the budget is the eternal struggle of a producer. This is why it’s important to build a network of friends and performers so you can call in favors when you need to get that perfect shot. In this short several things made it easy to stay on the budget. The look of the film was inspired partially by the classic Superman movie serials and television show, so I was able to use practical effects in several segments. Additionally, we were able to ask for a favor in order to use an actual laboratory for the location of Lex Luthor’s lab.

Who are your filmmaking influencers?

I’ve always admired people like Jim Henson and Joel Hodgson, people who used puppetry and practical effects in their projects. I love the work of Steven Speilberg and Sam Raimi. I definitely enjoy filmmakers who have a particular style and a flair for simple, old school effects.

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