Though mummies and zombies are often lumped into the same broad category, when you take a closer look, it becomes clear that they have almost nothing in common.

Mummies have their own name, illustrating the point that if a monster is actually identified as something else in particular, it’s relatively safe to assume that it’s not a zombie.

Mummies are also not zombies because they are not relentlessly aggressive and they do not come to be through a biological infection.

A mummy is a corpse whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, low humidity, or some combination thereof. In ancient mummy lore, they often protect specific places or sacred items, and this is also their driving desire in Hollywood depictions.

Unlike the modern zombie, mummies are not revived through some scientific process, but rather, through the fulfillment of a curse or eternal mission.

Once order is restored to the mummy’s world–meaning once you give it back its favorite ruby brooch or leave its sacred space–it will lie down again and wait for the next time someone disturbs its rest.

Mummies may be creepy and cool, but they are not related to zombies in the least.


  1. Both are cursed. The mummy’s origins in rooted in spirituality whereas the zombie is rooted in science. HA.

    • That’s not true. More modern movies and video games have made zombies that are rooted in science and as the article says, biological infections. The origin of zombies lies in the Voodoo religion, and they were ALWAYS things brought back from the dead through magic or supernatural means until relatively recent times.

  2. I finally convinced my husband this was true when I reminded him mummies don’t die when getting shot in the head, unlike zombies…

    • well a mummy is a type of revenant zombie. you guys are obviously thinking of the virus zombies. The difference is virus zombies are the one’s we see in movies, games, and TV. whereas revenant zombies are walking corpse that climbs out of graves and don’t carry a virus (usually controlled by a necromancer)

  3. mummies are
    better and stronger than zombies

  4. Mummies are more of ghouls and vampiric descent because they have supernatural powers. Zombies are just mindless corpses without anything.

  5. Have to say I disagree as the true Zombie is a corpse brought back to life with magic (voodoo), so in the case of zombies and mummies the two are realy one of the same, yes modern takes on Zombies has them resurrected via a virus or some chemical. The reality is a zombie can be resurrected from any origin be that biological chemical or a magical incantation/ritual. So if Zombies is a broad classification of a type of mythical creature/ monster then I would place a mummy as a sub category.

  6. well, in the case of undead, then you have to also include the werewolves, because in the earliest appearances, the people died, and then returned as a wolf to wreack havoc…

    • In very old Nordic stories werewolves were not revenants but instead shape shifters, who changed from man to beast and back to man. Stories of shape shifters are also common in other cultures as well.

  7. You make some very good distinctions, but I disagree when you say that mummies “are not related to zombies in the least.”

    They both fall under the general umbrella category of being “undead.” (Obviously, along with vampires and numerous other “reanimated” monsters.

    Both have a distinct history of shambling and mindless relentlessness, along with a tattered, shabby aesthetic.

    I agree that they’re distinctly different, but they have some obvious similarities as well.

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