Credit: Matt Stratton (Music Box), Rich Hein/Sun-Times (Portage)

Neither Music Box nor Movieside Film Festival will comment on why they ended their seven-year partnership presenting the annual Music Box Massacre, a wildly popular 24-hour horror marathon in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Last October the event mysteriously split into two rival marathons on successive weekends: first the Music Box of Horrors and then, over at the Portage, the Massacre. Both followed the same format of screening movies in chronological order, from the silent era into the present, with plenty of vintage trailers and personal appearances along the way, and the film selection for each was excellent. According to the respective promoters, both events were successful, and the duel resumes this fall with two more competing lineups (should the Portage reopen by then). There hasn’t been a monster battle like this since King Kong vs. Godzilla.