Michael Schoob and Frank Levering had something in common with Alan Adler when they met him last year at a Hollywood party: All three were young, hard-up screenwriters. A week later they were still young, hard-up screenwriters, but they also had an idea for an oddball 3-D flick called Parasite. The rest is horror history. Eleven weeks after its release this spring, Parasite, the saga of a flesh-eating monster who terrorizes a post-nuclear ghost town, ranked No. 10 on Variety’s list of top moneymakers, right behind Chariots of Fire. Most reviewers held their noses; the New York Times called it “a badly acted B movie.” But Levering says, “It’s camp.”
Their current hit aside—Parasite has already earned $6.9 million on a budget of $800,000—the trio didn’t find it easy to crack Hollywood’s cash box. Atlanta-born Schoob, 30, is the son of a U.S. District Court judge. In 1969 he enrolled in Connecticut’s Wesleyan University and became friends with fellow student Levering, now 30, the son of a farmer from Orchard Gap, Va. After graduation the pair headed for L.A. and met Adler, 33, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who had been lured to Tinseltown after seeing Star Wars.
Schoob and Levering are already at work on their next script (which they describe as “a historical piece”), and Adler’s The Concrete Jungle, a women’s prison movie, is due out this fall. The threesome are now teaming up again, this time to write a horror spoof about a giant woman from outer space. “We can’t decide,” says Adler, “whether she should be as tall as a double-decker bus or the Washington Monument.”