Moria says, "What is so startling about The Unknown is its perverse freakishness." 1000 Misspent Hours says,
Every time I watch one of Chaney’s silent movies, I find myself flabbergasted at the extent to which his talent towers above that of virtually anyone on the Hollywood scene in the early decades of the sound era.
The New York Times opens with this:
Although it has strength and undoubtedly sustains the interest, "The Unknown," the latest screen contribution from Tod Browning and Lon Chaney, is anything but a pleasant story. It is gruesome and at times shocking, and the principal character deteriorates from a more or less sympathetic individual to an arch-fiend.