Going Smaller and Getting Scarier: An Interview with Aleia Murawski on ‘Scream’ and Snails

Snails And Scream

W.C. Fields said, “Never work with children or animals.” What if the animal is small? Like, really, really small? And the animal doesn’t talk back? 

Artists Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland work with really, really small animals. Their site, Beef’s World, named after their dearly departed guinea pig, features snails in miniature sets. The work is tiny and gorgeous and inspiring. There’s a reason Murawski has 294K Instagram followers. If you need any convincing on why she deserves a follow, just check out her 2023 Halloween post. 

The duo’s work was compiled in a beautiful art book. Snail World: Life in the Slimelight features the aforementioned snails, with a frog thrown in for good measure, in some of their best pieces. You might have also seen their work in The New York Times or Vogue or in a Bully music video or Apple commercial. All that stuff is great but it’s not nearly as cool as their What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie? prints

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The set of 5 spooky movie prints is great for the horror fan who needs more blood in their life, just not a movie theater-sized marquee poster amount of blood. If you didn’t get what was on your holiday list, or realize sometimes less is more, you’ll most likely want to pick up at a set. It’s much easier than building entire miniature horror movie sets. 

We spoke with the artist about the prints, fire, and the horror that is adults-only motel hot tubs. 

Dread Central: Your Scary Movie Prints are just fantastic. Are there any films you attempted but couldn’t make?

Aleia Murawski: There are so many scenes we would love to recreate once we have more time on our side. We have always wanted to make a miniature scene where the bedroom wall becomes flexible, revealing hands or faces of some apparition or presence on the other side. We have dreams of building a miniature house collapsing or imploding from within, like in Poltergeist. But that type of project will take lots of time and experimentation and is outside the capabilities of our small studio…That and anything on fire! 

DC: What’s your favorite scary movie? If it’s not Scream, are you tempted to just lie and say it’s Scream

AM: Yes, absolutely. Scream is my favorite. But then again, you wouldn’t know if I’m lying or not… 

DC: What print has received the most love? 

AM: Thankfully all of our horror movie snail prints come in a pack together, so they get equal love from what we can see. Our favorite set to build was The Shining. We recreated the elevator scene in 1/12th scale with the bloody flood bursting through the doors. We mixed up several different versions of blood. It was really hard to get it to flow convincingly. We finally got it looking just right, or we thought we did, until the dozens of comments on TikTok that said, “Looks like ketchup,” which is the most funny and humbling constructive criticism. 

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DC: Have you considered going bigger? Not literally, but maybe a Godzilla setting?

AM: I love that you asked this because one of the projects we just talked about making was a Godzilla-style miniature set, with a foot or small animal (bigger than a snail however) smashing the buildings. This would still be small in scale, but it would be a much more expansive build-out than we are used to! 

DC: Your Snail Greeting Cards feature a hot tub scene. What’s scarier, a Poltergeist situation or staying in a couples-only motel with a heart-shaped hot tub?

AM: Haha, they can certainly feel ominous. We have stayed in love motels before, some middle-of-nowhere places that are very isolated and… soiled. It is certainly fuel for nightmares. 

DC: You work with snails, a notoriously slow creature. Are there any slow-burn horror films that inspire your work? 

AM: This isn’t a classic horror movie, but one that stays with me is Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon. It is incredibly psychologically destabilizing, which is my favorite type of horror. 

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