Introduced in AD&D's Planescape product line and immortalized for many in the 1999 PC game Planescape: Torment, the city of Sigil is the epitome of a cosmopolitan hub, literally situated at the centre of a multiverse of planes of existance. Known alternately as "The City of Doors" and "The Cage", Sigil juxtaposes travel and confinement: it is frequently easy to get to, but difficult to leave, despite the near limitless number of locales it connects. Intrinsic to the function of the city are the Factions: Philosophical-Political parties that operate key public facilities in accordance with their outlook. The Dustmen, for example, espouse the idea that life and death are illusionary states, and that one can attain the enlightenment of True Death through ascetic denial of emotion and physical wants and needs. Consequently, they run the Mortuary, preparing bodies for burial. The Society of Sensation, by contrast, believes that the path to enlightenment lies in experiential knowledge accumulated through the senses. They operate the city's Civic Festhall. The parallels between Sigil and Threshold should be fairly evident; Planescape Torment is, after all, cited in the epigraph of the very first issue. Threshold's "factions", however, are not quite so formal, and operate in somewhat of a different way. Rather than existing independently as like-minded groups and adopting a headquarters that suits their philosophy, individuals are instead drawn to particular locations in Threshold based on what those locations represent. The "faction" grows organically, incorporating multiple interpretations of an Ur-Location into an ideology.
A chaotic bricolage of towering buildings that warp and shift in accordance with unknown designs; an air of Gothic Noir; a cast of characters whose identities are in continual flux; warped perceptions of time--Dark City lives in Threshold in one form or another. Interestingly enough, I didn't see the film several months after I started the Threshold project. It was lent to me by a friend, and I watched it on the Red Arrow on my way down to Calgary. I recall that the opening scene of a naked, mutilated woman found dead in a hotel room absolutely horrified the lady sitting next to me. She moved to another seat shortly thereafter. While I was drawn to the atmosphere of the film straight away, I was initially disappointed with the plot structure. The voice-over at the beginning gave entirely too much away, ruining the suspense. I gather this has been rectified in the Director's Cut.