Normally, I would post a general review of the movie, but this is a special case.
Let me start by saying I loved this movie. Let me continue by saying I recommend it, but specifically, I recommend the original director's cut. The explanation will contain what could be considered spoilers.
The theatrical ending grinds and fizzles. I understood it, I understood its necessity and its focus. All the same, I didn't like it. It was a teeny-bopper, watered-down ending to an edgy, dark, skillful movie. It changed the focus from him to her, and it left you with an overall, "Yeah, that was kind of a happy ending" feeling. I'm sorry, but you just don't "happy ending" a child molestation, accidental baby-killing, violent preteen, prison sex movie. You don't.
I was very happy to find that this was not the director's ending, but a sell-out ending to please the sample audiences polled before the movie's release. The makers said it wouldn't make the money they needed with the real ending. But let me say, the real ending is worth it. It's like, the entire movie is a burning fuse of one extremely disturbing image after another, and then the original ending says, "Bam! We saved the most disturbing for last." Watch this movie on DVD with the director's ending. It is the truly artful of the two.
Story: More or less in the vein of its comtemporaries, a lot of people die as prelude to a predictable "trick" ending. Touch of mystery, mostly just slasher. Characters were unpredictable. And the very last scene, well, this entire monstrosity is worth the very last scene. 1 point for being mildly ironic.
Presentation: For the time, the film is pretty gritty overall, and the gore abounds. The cinematographer should be fired for some of those shots, but doesn't bump the movie around too badly. Let's face, you go into this movie hoping for fake blood, and they deliver. 1 point.
Performance: Well, you didn't see these folks on the stage getting academies. The characters, as I've mentioned, aren't great, and the acting doesn't help much. It seems on par with where the movie was going, though, which certainly isn't the bestseller list. 0 points, if just for repeating "Bastard!" three times.
Overall: Good for a laugh if you're into really bad horror flicks from back when. I enjoyed being disgusted by it, at any rate. 1 point to grow on.
Story: Where? Oh wait, if you look very closely there is something resembling a story in there, although I'm sure I don't understand it. Something about Hercules, and an evil queen, and some really not intimidating rock creatures, and that guy, and that guy over there, and some other guy. I don't know. 0 points.
Presentation: Well, let's see. There's the fifteen minute sandstorm scene. I haven't actually timed it, but it's infamously long. Then there's the many other scenes of people walking, or standing, or sitting. How much film can a director waste and still make a movie? Here's your answer. 0 points.
Performance: Strangely, not as bad as it should be, considering the rest of the movie's lack of effort. Far from convincing, the actors are still at least as good as every other Italian movie I've seen. So, given the origin and context, I'll be liberal. 1 point.
Overall: I personally got a lot of enjoyment from this movie, but that probably calls my taste into question. If you and a friend need a movie to make fun of for a while, or even just a really really really long sandstorm scene, this movie's perfect. It's potentially entertaining, so one last point. Total, 2 stars.