SXSW Film: Hung Up on a Dream Reviewed by Trish Connelly

Whether you’re well versed with their discography or perhaps hearing their name for the first time, you’re certainly aware of The Zombies' hit tracks. Roughly sixty years after first meeting and starting a band, director Robert Schwartzman’s debut documentary, Hung Up on a Dream, has been a long time coming, journeying through the quartet’s rocket to stardom while simultaneously navigating an endlessly tumultuous and unpredictable music industry. 



Coming to fruition in the musical era of the early 60’s, St Albans’ bandmates and long-time friends Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Chris White, and Hugh Grundy gush about how fortunate they were to start a band during such an impeccable time and space. Equally passionate with their new project, the four-piece were eager to play everywhere and anywhere. After competing with 99 other acts and winning best band in the country, The Zombies quickly rised on the road to success. Gaining popularity and hitting the charts at #1 with their hit “She’s Not There”, the four piece shared stages with the likes of Dionne Warwick and The Searchers and ventured overseas to the states to play major tours. With future invitations to Europe and Asia, including a lengthy residency in the Philippines, The Zombies captured the attention of vast audiences worldwide within just a few short years. 


Unfortunately with mass success generally comes mass complications. Being in the prime of their youth and generally naïve to the pitfalls of fame and the music industry, it became obvious that they were getting cheated out of their financials. With barely enough money to eat and pay their bills, coupled by the lack of chart-topping success on their forthcoming album Odessey and Oracle (recorded at the world-renowned Abbey Road studios), The Zombies' notoriety dissolved at the end of the 60’s. Singer Rod Argent formed a rock band by his family name, gaining some modest success in the states with his single “Time of the Season” scaling the Billboard charts. 


Despite the number of uphill battles they had to face during their career, it’s not often that musicians can staunchly adhere to six decades of enduring friendship. “Some groups of people just click”, a sentiment that rings true in the tonality all four members speak in regards to each other. Equally persevering in their passion which eventually got them inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hung Up on a Dream might not waver very far from most linear music documentaries, though it’s clear to see from intimate interviews how timeless and inspiring a band like The Zombies has resonated after so many years.

documentary film review hung up on a dream music documentary robert schwartzman sxsw film the zombies