Have you heard of Netflix’s genre codes? It’s the way that the streaming service classifies their movies, and it usually extends the standard “drama” or “comedy” tags. If you’ve scrolled through your Netflix homepage, you know that there are a lot of suggestions based on what you’ve already seen. But you can easily get caught up in a recurring loop just because you like mysteries or musicals. If you’re looking for some variety next time you log on, try plugging in these codes to open up some hyper-specific genres to dive into.
Campy Movies (Code: 1252)
Figuring out what specifically classifies something as “camp” isn’t easy. When the Met Gala tried to use it as a theme in 2019, there was some confusion. Does campy mean broad and schticky? Bold and queer? A deliberate subversion of high fashion? The answer changes depending on the product and the person, but Netflix has a wide variety of choices to cull from. Everything from broad comedies (Scary Movie V) to kiddie movies (The Spy Next Door) to Bollywood classics (Elaan) to gay classics (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) are featured in the camp section, meaning that no matter what kind of mood you find yourself in, there will be a camp classic waiting for you.
Tearjerkers (Code: 6384)
Need a good cry? Netflix has you covered. The drama genre tag is one of Netflix’s favorites to slap on any movie that isn’t explicitly a comedy, but if you’re looking for a real onion-cutting viewing experience, try the “Tearjerkers” section. Want tragic romances? Try The Notebook. How about senseless loss of life due to oppressive disenfranchisement? Boyz ‘N the Hood will do just fine. A fan of melodramas with whiplash-inducing endings that are based around the September 11th attacks? Remember Me is here for you. For every type of emotional release you need, the “Tearjerkers” section is here to remind you that ugly crying can be cathartic.
Slasher and Serial Killer Movies (Code: 8646)
The horror section of Netflix is one of its deepest rabbit holes to fall down. There’s a specific genre for every taste, including Cult Horror, Creature Features, Satanic Stories, and even B-Horror (which currently consists of only a single selection, but what a selection it is: Killer Klowns from Outer Space is the gold standard of B-Horror). But if you want the widest variety, “Slasher and Serial Killer Movies” is the pick. There’s everything from stomach-churning gore (House of 1,000 Corpses) to teen scream flicks (Unfriended) to ridiculous horror comedies (Girls with Balls). In other words, there’s something for everyone to have a killer time.
Quirky Romance (Code: 36103)
Are you not like everyone else? Do you have your own way of thinking, your own fashion sense, and your own tastes that definitely aren’t mainstream. Well, you and about a million other people who will love every selection in the “Quirky Romance” section of Netflix’s library. There are classics (She’s Gotta Have It), modern classics (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), hidden gems (Safety Not Guaranteed), Bollywood flicks (Jagga Jasoos) and even some bizarre bombs (The Wrong Missy) Pull out your ukulele and make sure your glasses are positioned just right, because these romances aren’t like the other romances.
Alien Sci-Fi (Code: 3327)
Having a section labelled “Alien Sci-Fi” feels kind of redundant. Aliens and science fiction have been partners in crime since we first started telling stories of close encounters and extraterrestrial meetings, but the “Alien Sci-Fi” section of Netflix deserves a mention because it’s home to some absolute classics, namely the original runs of both The Twilight Zone and Star Trek. But this is another section with a surprising amount of variety to choose from. Want a goofy comedy? Put on The Coneheads. Maybe a schlocky space horror flick? Apollo 18 goes straight to the bottom of the barrell. How about a shudder-inducing anime? Parasyte – The Maxim will do the trick. And hey! Killer Kowns from Outer Space makes an appearance in this genre tab too! That’s how you know it’s good.
Showbiz Movies Based on Real Life (Code: 7)
It was intriguing to find why most of the codes were at least four digits long. I didn’t think that there were that many distinct genre tags, but there was some fun to be had from punching in random digits and seeing what came up. With this thought in mind, I wondered if there were any basic numbers that came up with genres. Most of them were dead ends, but I was pleased to find that the number 7 came up with this very specific subset of film: the “Showbiz Movie Based on Real Life”. There’s only a handful of selections here, including the Helen Reddy biopic I Am Woman and the underrated music biz flick The Sapphires, but it shows that experimenting with the code numbers can sometimes lead to promising results.
Party On! (Code: 1188010)
Finally, I just wanted to see how bizarre it got in the Netflix library. Like I said before, there are some dead ends that come up with codes. 26118 will take you to “TV Shows Starring Women”, which doesn’t have any entries because Netflix doesn’t have any shows with female leads (or, more likely, they came up with a differently titled but similar category, gave it a new code, and left this old one to collect dust). In terms of longest names with the best content within, the prize goes to “Critically Acclaimed Binge Worthy TV Shows”, which also has an appropriately long code that reads like a phone number: 2236980. But my favorite category that I stumbled upon has to be “Party On!”, if only because its vague name belies a real treasure trove. Stoner comedies, biting satires, goofy biopics, irreverent TV shows, and even Christmas specials have found their way into this genre. Why? Who knows, and who cares. It’s like every previous category on this list smashed together and gave us a wealth of entertainment. It’s pretty cool, and I’ll definitely be going back to the “Party On!” genre tag soon.