Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

A Different Kind of Creature Feature on VHS...

Skateboarding and horror movies? Who would have thought? The two seem far from a likely pairing, but according to NHS Inc. Skateboard Distribution out of Santa Cruz, CA, they are a match made in heaven (or hell for that matter). NHS is the parent company behind classic brands such as Santa Cruz Skateboards and Independent Truck Company, and the focal point of this here blog post – Creature Skateboards.

Frankenstein? Werewolf? Skateboarder! A whole new kind'a teenage love- in!

I was first introduced to Creature in the early 90’s, when they were a small team with only a few riders, namely Jason Addams, Barker Barrett, Dorian Tucker, and Darren Navarette. They released a little-known skate video called I Was A Teenage Skateboarder on VHS back in 1994 (which I have seen go for upwards of $150 on eBay), which was a mini-horror movie and skate video, something that (to my knowledge) had never been done before. It stands as one of the most coveted skate tapes out there. The video itself (which was no more than 20 minutes long if I recall correctly), and their eye-catching logo (still used to this day) instantly drew me in and I became completely obsessed. I rode nothing but Creature decks for the remainder of the 90’s; the company embodied the only two things that I gave a shit about as a teenager: horror and skateboarding. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but I think it was around the end of the decade . . . Creature dropped off the map.

Another view of one of the most sought-after Skateboarding videos on this planet.

My skateboarding “career” ended with two broken ankles; my shredding days were over. I thought I had seen the last of Creature and went on to pursue a music career – something that didn’t require me to throw my body all over the concrete and bleed out on a daily basis. I wanna say it was sometime around 2004, cruising eBay looking for old Creature skate gear, when I discovered that NHS had resurrected the brand – and they were back with a vengeance! Under the artistic direction of Lee Charron, Creature was back from the grave! With Jason Adams out of the picture, Darren Navarette was now Team Captain and they were stronger than ever . . . Taking cues from the marketing strategy in Mel Brook’s Spaceballs (1987) – “Spaceballs the flame thrower!” – NHS and Creature unleashed a merchandising push unlike anything I had ever seen. The Creature logo was EVERYWHERE. It started with T-shirts, stickers, hoodies, and limited edition decks. They slapped their logo on everything from change purses to weed grinders, Zippo lighters to sunglasses! The Creature domino set and beer cooler really blew my mind. My teenage obsession was back in full swing. I started ordering anything and everything they put out online, and soon I was dressed head to toe in Creature swag on a regular basis. It wasn’t unusual for me to walk out of the house in a black and green Creature hat, hoodie, t-shirt, socks, and sneakers. The only thing that didn’t have their logo on it was my jeans (I’m still waiting for them to make these!). The limited edition decks were the icing on the cake featuring guest artists like Munk One and Alex Pardee, some of them hand-numbered and limited to runs of 200. One of the decks even came with a Creature OVEN MITT! I saw another deck cut into the shape of a wrench and another called The Rip Rider, which was shaped like a coffin and came in a coffin box. They even distributed coffin-shaped display cases to skateshops across the country (I was lucky enough to scoop one up on eBay for a pretty penny – now I just need to pick the perfect Creature deck to display inside it). It was obvious these guys were just having fun with NHS’s money, and rightfully so – the skater kids were eating it up . . .

And the coffin box is a groovy way to store your favorite vids!

Creature is still in full-force in 2012 and they have taken the skateboarding market to a whole new level with their merchandising. Their skating, a punk-rock thrash style of riding known as “hesh” which became popular in the 80’s, speaks for itself and they are unlike any other team out there right now. Their videos show the team defying gravity on insanely steep vert ramps and sliding through graffiti-ridden abandoned backyard pools - shredd to the max!

Here's another version of the RipRider. Rip while you ride. What you rip, that's for you to decide!

So there you have it, folks! There is no such thing as “liking” Creature skateboards – you’re either not a fan or you’re completely obsessed with them (like me). As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to be into skateboarding to dig Creature. Fans of horror movies will love their merch and you may even find yourself shelling out your hard earned cash for the next thing Creature decides to slap their logo on. Who knows what they’ll do next – there are surprises lurking around every corner. Now if I could only convince Darren Navarette to release the next Creature video on VHS . . . John DeSantis

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