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They're the reason why the nite-lite was invented. It was fearful desperation that fueled the frantic efforts of some young Edison to assemble just the right elements and bring the cure of constant (if teeny-tiny) light to the curse of overwhelming (yet endless) darkness. Somewhere in those flickering shadows of a child's room after bedtime, creatures hide, beasts lurk, monsters loiter. Under the bed. Beneath the bureau. In the closet.

And the only thing on their monstrous minds, as always, is to scare kids — to obtain that ever-elusive scream. They do this not out of evil or spite, not (mostly) from cruelty, but just because, hey, it's their job. A monster's gotta do what a monster's gotta do.

After all, their world, that nether realm known as Monstropolis — where dwell creatures of all shapes, sizes and species — needs the frightened whimperings of human young. It's the very energy that powers the whole place, the stuff that screams are made of.

A company town devoted to a dangerous business (since children are said to be toxic to monsters and shouldn't be touched). Monstropolis is filled with fear factories, some charged with plumbing the perils below the bed, others mining the dark at the top of the stairs. But the industry leader, the number one fright firm for generations, remains Monsters, Inc. They cover the closet.

And that's where the door opens on this latest CG-animated fantasy from Pixar Animation Studios — the folks behind the Toy Story movies and A Bug's Life — and Walt Disney Pictures. This time, the talents led by
Pixar guru John Lasseter have chosen not to chronicle the secret lives of toys or the heroic exploits of insects, but to focus on the things we all imagine go bump in the night.

Inspiration came from childhood. "I brought in the idea of doing something with monsters." says first-time director Pete Docter (who served as supervising animator on Toy Story). "I loved how so many people
said. 'Ah! I knew my toys were alive.' So I was looking for other common, shared experiences like that."