Traditionally speaking zombies end up being more numerous with the potential for converting the living into the undead through various means of infection. They result most often in pop culture from some form of outbreak, though there is the occasional necromancer or Vodun priest credited with raising an army. And let’s not forget the closing of the gates of Heaven and Hell that refuse admittance and thus trap the soul within its rotting corpse that somehow causes an inexplicable, insatiable hunger for brains.
Mummies on the other hand are limited in number and usually just kill the living with no worries of reanimation. They are cursed beings, though most of the time they only rise to fulfill a curse placed on any who disturb their rest. (Talk about grumpy sleepers.) Now a mummy can raise other mummies in special cases, but typically any dead that were not mummified just stay dead.
So which is worse?
Well, if you decapitate a zombie or otherwise destroy its brain before it takes a bite out of you generally speaking you’re in the clear as long as you don’t get careless. However, with a mummy decapitation doesn’t have the same incapacitating effect, nor does that whole destroying the brain thing as there is usually magic involved. To stop a mummy your only option is to break the curse, and good luck with that if you happen to be clueless about ancient languages.
Death by zombie usually means being eaten alive. Zombies are pretty straight forward that way. They come at you with open mouths. Death by mummy can be a little more creative. There’s the toxic mummy breath to kill you by plague, the mummy’s grip to choke the life out of you, the curse that allows the mummy to suck your life away, any weapon a mummy happens to have to attack you with, and so on.
Personally I don’t like either option. I think my chances might be better against a zombie since the ability to read hieroglyphs in no way effects my survival rate, but there is that whole risk of becoming a zombie. A mummy would kill me, but then I’d just be dead and no danger to anyone else.
What do you think? Which is a more frightening adversary, mummies or zombies?
*Photo: The Mummy by Rocco Lucia, obtained through Flickr Creative Commons.